In 2019, demonstrations around the world, both peaceful and violent, were set off by social unrest over economic instability, government corruption and inequality. The protests created a domino effect, crossing borders and bringing droves of people to streets globally to demand change. The desire to be heard was felt by people from different nationalities, religions and political affiliations.
As of mid-December, Hong Kong police continue to call for the public’s cooperation “to put an end to all rioting acts and to bring offenders to justice,” following violent clashes and mass destruction of properties that resulted in 99 arrests over one weekend. In one particularly violent incident in November, protesters set a man alight outside a subway station.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned in late November in response to the popular disapproval fueled by a desire for political change.
In contrast, Lebanese demonstrations brought together an often-divided public in a rare but hopeful sign of unity. A proposed fee on internet voice calls triggered protests from crowds of different sects and religions, waving Lebanese flags.
In Colombia, tens of thousands of anti-government protesters demanded the resignation of President Iván Duque Márquez over what started as a planned labor union strike and transformed into widespread uproar on behalf of the opposition.
Amid the demonstrations, Colombia’s capital of Bogotá was placed under a curfew — the first of its kind in decades — and riot police dispersed protesters with tear gas after three people were killed. The Popular Human Rights Network of Bogotá denounced the use of unconventional weapons against protesters.
However, protests have faced a decline in recent months as many believe Guaidó missed his moment to lead the country out of turmoil. Protesters claim the inability of the opposition to unite, and settle on actions rather than dialogue, has further deepened this crisis.
While this isn’t a comprehensive list, 2019 clearly brought with it widespread demands for change and government accountability throughout the world, and NBC News was there, at ground zero, in many of those instances.