Mass protests across the world

The plans by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s nationalist religious coalition to hand control over judicial appointments to the executive while giving parliament the power to overturn Supreme Court rulings has ignited one of the biggest internal crises in Israeli history.

france, germany
French police look on as protesters holding French CGT labour union flags in front of the glass Pyramid block the entrance of the Louvre museum to protest against the French government's pension reform, in Paris, France, March 27, 2023. (REUTERS/Marco Trujillo)

French pension reform strikes

A series of general strikes and demonstrations began in France on January 19 this year, organised by people opposed to the 2023 French pension reform bill proposed by the Élisabeth Borne government, which would increase the retirement age from 62 to 64 years old. The strikes have led to widespread disruption, including garbage piling up in the streets and public transport cancellations. Last month, the government used Article 49.3 of the constitution to force the bill through the French parliament, sparking more protests and two failed no confidence votes, contributing to an increase in violence in protests alongside the union-organised strike action.

Georgian protests over ‘foreign influence’ bill

The 2023 Georgian protests were a series of street demonstrations taking place throughout Georgia over parliamentary backing of a proposed ‘Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence’. Under the bill, non-commercial legal entities (the most common form of NGO in Georgia), broadcasters, legal entities that alone or jointly own a print media outlet operating in Georgia, and legal entities that own or use, jointly or with others, an internet domain and/or internet hosting intended for the dissemination of information through the internet in the Georgian language, must register in public registry as “agents of foreign influence” and be subjected to the monitoring of the ministry of justice, if they receive more than 20% of their annual income from “a foreign power”. The police were reported to have used water cannons and tear gas to disperse tens of thousands of people, especially in the capital Tbilisi, who had gathered outside the Georgian parliament. On March 10, the parliament retracted the bill as a result of the mass protests.

Berlin public services employees attend a demonstration as part of a warning strike of the Ver.di union in Berlin, Germany, Friday, March 24, 2023. German unions are calling on thousands of workers across the country’s transport system to stage a one-day strike on Monday, March 27, 2023, that is expected to bring widespread disruption to planes, trains and local transit across the country. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

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Peruvian political protests

Since December 2022, supporters of the ousted president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, have engaged in a series of political protests against the government of the current president Dina Boluarte and the Congress of Peru. Castillo was removed from office and arrested after announcing the dissolution of Congress, the intervention of the state apparatus, and the establishment of an “emergency government”. The armed forces and the police have been documented using excessive force against the protesters, resulting in at least 60 deaths, over 600 injuries, over 380 arrests and two massacres in Ayacucho and Juliaca, as per reports. The Boluarte government announced a national state of emergency on December 14, suspending some constitutional rights of citizens, including the right preventing troops from staying within private homes and buildings and the right to freedom of movement, among others. Multiple ministers have resigned from Boluarte’s cabinet throughout the series of protests following acts of violence perpetrated by authorities.

Germany labour strike

The 2023 Germany strike is a nationwide labour strike that occurred in March this year. The strike was organised by Ver.di and EVG, two major transport unions, who demanded a 10.5% pay increase for their members to offset rising food and energy costs. This strike was one of the worst to hit Germany in decades and had a major impact on airports, public transport, and the country’s largest port. Eight major airports, including those in Munich, Frankfurt, and Hamburg, were affected, and long-distance railroad services, as well as early morning regional and commuter rail services, were suspended throughout the country. The strike involved over 400,000 transport workers, making it the largest transport workers’ action since a series of strikes in the 1990s.

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Mahsa Amini protests

Civil unrest and protests against the government of Iran associated with the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini began on September 16, 2022 and are ongoing. Amini had been arrested by the Guidance Patrol for allegedly violating Iran’s mandatory hijab law by wearing her hijab “improperly” while visiting Tehran from Saqqez. As the protests spread from Amini’s hometown of Saqqez to other cities in the Iranian Kurdistan and throughout Iran, the government responded with widespread Internet blackouts, nationwide restrictions on social media usage. Although the protests have not been as deadly as those in 2019 (when more than 1,500 were killed), they have been nationwide, spread across social classes, universities, streets, schools. Over 488 people had been killed as of January 27, 2023.

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First published on: 02-04-2023 at 00:30 IST
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