• Last year, on December 18, President of the United States Donald Trump, was impeached
  • While America’s mainstream media was focused on the Mueller Report and Trump’s impeachment nearly all year with around the clock coverage, dozens of countries were out in the streets fighting for their rights and in some areas, for their life
  • Mainstream media stayed mostly silent regarding major protests, unrelated to the Trump presidency, across America
  • Even without coverage within the United States, other nations watched and learned tools for their own revolutions

The world around the United States has fallen apart over the last year, but all the fallen nations were able to build themselves up without the assistance of the United States.

Many Americans were unaware of the catastrophes happening around the world since they were not exposed to information based for the simple fact that the mainstream media was focused on Donald Trump’s impeachment.

Donald Trump’s Impeachment

Prior to Trump being inaugurated, many Americans vowed they would support impeaching him if he was to be elected. Many American celebrities—from musicians to actors—even vowed to leave the country if he was elected. Mainstream media outlets have kept a constant focus on Trump’s attention-seeking behavior, repeated blunders, and constantly growing list of lies. Many outlets were likely hoping to find something incriminating enough to warrant an impeachment while boosting their ratings. In order to achieve their goal, media outlets were willing to give as much airtime as needed each year.

Image: realclearpolitics.com
Image: realclearpolitics.com

The Disparity Of The World

Over the last year, many nations have taken to the streets in a battle, for their freedom and their rights. Citizens on almost every continent have been affected and are dealing with strife that stemmed from the actions or lack of actions from their government. Many of these devastations were widely ignored by media outlets within the United States, due to the ongoing coverage of Trump. Therefore, discuss would like to make readers aware of some of the events that were not made widely known during 2019.

The Yellow Vest Movement In France October 2018

The trickle effect of protesting throughout different nations stemmed from what took place in France, beginning in late 2018, when citizens decided to have boots on the ground protests. In a cooperative effort, demonstrators decided to wear the same yellow vests they are required by law to have in their vehicles as a symbol of unity. What sparked walkouts, strikes, and rallies was an increase in hydrocarbon tax, increasing the price of fuel.

The demonstrations quickly turned into a wider protest, once they got the results they were wanting. Every Saturday, French citizens would gather in the streets demanding change dawning a new “Act” each week for at least 45 consecutive weeks. Each Act was a form of reform that citizens believed would allow their freedom of rights and ability to live their lives in a better state. The citizens were not willing to give up. They wanted to be heard and seen, no matter what it took, which continued throughout 2019.

The Women’s March In New York In January

One of the main rally points for the Women’s March was in Trump’s home state. What initially began as a march unifying women, turned into something bigger due to conflict between different groups of women representing the march. The march broke into three separate protests happening at the same time due to the lack of inclusivity. Women with disabilities as well as women who practiced Judaism believed they were not getting enough attention.

The march itself was widely known because mass media had no issues with sharing live feeds, photos, and stories, but the fact there was more going on behind the scenes with the groups splitting apart was not shared outside local media.

Civil Unrest In Albania In February

Edvin “Edi” Rama has been the Prime Minister of Albania and the Minister of Foreign Affairs since 2013. Rama wants to put Albania on the path of European Union membership but some politicians disagree with his vision. Groups of politicians representing both the right side and the centre-left fed up with Rama demanded his resignation. In February, those politicians took a stand and walked out of parliament in protest. Politicians were demanding a transitional government with early elections, accusing Rama of corruption with links to crime.

Citizens across Albania quickly filled the streets with weekly protests. Many of the protests ended with petrol bombs and firecrackers being used against police. Police attempted to use tear gas to control the crowds, which unfortunately also injured journalists. Protesters also used bricks to break into government buildings.

Algeria Protests Against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s regime In February

In February, an estimated 3 million protesters took to the streets in hopes to remove President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s regime. Demonstrators gathered in anger after Bouteflika announced his intent to run for a fifth term. They gathered with knowledge that demonstrations have been banned since 2001. Police used tear gas and a water cannon in hopes of rounding up protesters.

Bouteflika later resigned in April with elections scheduled for December. However, after Boutefilka’s resignation, protestors marched demanding the election to be canceled. During the 41 weeks of marching, tens of thousands ended up participating calling for the old ruling guard step aside and for the army to quit playing politics.

Massive Civil Unrest In Hong Kong In March

In March, citizens of Hong Kong took to the streets over a proposed bill that would allow citizens to be extradited to mainland China. Protesters quickly laid out their five demands. They called for the bill to be withdrawn, an investigation into police brutality and misconduct, release of arrested protesters, a retraction of the word “riots” and Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s resignation.

Despite hundreds of thousands of protesters gathering daily, on June 9, the government proceeded with the bill. Protesters were able to stall the second reading of the bill by holding a massive standoff. Police attempted to control the protests using tear gas and rubber bullets. Two people died from the protests. Lam suspended the bill on June 15 and declared the bill as “passed away” on July 9. It wasn’t till October 23 that the bill was withdrawn.

Georgia Protests Outside The Parliament In June

In June, protests outside of the Parliament of Georgia grew. The protests started after Sergei Gavrilov, Deputy of the State Duma representing the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, sat in a chair reserved by a protocol for the leader of Parliament. He delivered a speech in Russian commending the established unity of Georgia and Russia.

Members of the European Georgia and United National Movement blocked the entrances to parliament calling for protests and resignations. There were 240 protesters injured by police using tear gas and rubber bullets. Police arrested 305 protesters. The protesters were successful as both Irakli Kobakhidze and Zakaria Kutsnashvili resigned.

Civil Unrest In Hawaii In June

In July, almost 40 demonstrators were arrested for blocking the construction of a $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope. Among those arrested were elderly natives in wheelchairs and using canes. The land—Mauna Kea on the Big Island—the telescope was to be built on was considered sacred to Native Hawaiians.

The blockade formed by protesters hindered astronomers using 13 existing telescopes. As of late December, protesters removed the barricades for the first time. Activists are planning a demonstration at the State Capital in Honolulu where legislative sessions are set to begin January 15.

Russia Protests Corruption Of Durma Elections In July

In July, numerous approved and unapproved protests were formed in Moscow. They were formed due to claims of corruption in the Duma elections. Widespread protests claimed that authorities violated rights when they barred the independent candidates during the registration procedure.

Protests led into August gathering as many as 50,000 people, demanding fair elections. Many of the unregistered independent candidates were arrested on charges of obstructing the work of election commissions and riots case. Over 3,000 protesters were arrested. Many of the arrestees are still in jail.

Civil Unrest In Britain In August

In August, demonstrators formed protests in Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, Brighton, Swansea, Bristol and Liverpool against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s push to suspend Parliament. Many protesters believed that Johnson was attempting to stop democracy by bypassing the courts and parliament. In June 2016, a referendum was held on whether the United Kingdom should leave the European Union or stay. Leave won by 52%.

Shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, gave a speech during the protests calling Johnson a dictator and the move was “a very British coup.” Johnson succeeded in replacing the new arrangements, now allowing the United Kingdom to sign and implement its own trade agreements. After many delayed deadlines, a further extension was made till January 31, 2020, to negotiate the revised deal.

4,300 Arrested In Protests In Egypt In September

In September, security forces responded to protests in Cairo, Alexandria, Damietta and five other Egyptian cities calling for President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to be removed from power. They responded using tear gas, rubber bullets, and live bullets. Protesters accused top officials of using public funds for personal gain. Of the 4,300 arrested, 111 were minors.

Protesters were angered after a video online circulated of a construction worker claiming that he built five villas for el-Sisi’s friends and a palace for the president in a military camp. Mosaad Abu Fagr, a Sinai activist in exile, released a video as well claiming Sisi cooperated with drug smugglers and dealers that were smuggling between Sinai and the Gaza Strip. On September 27, Egypt’s National Security Agency used 30 buses to create a pro-Sisi rally.

Civil Unrest In Indonesia In September

In September, at least two students were killed and hundreds were injured during a protest which stemmed from the weakening of the Corruption Eradication Commission. The group of students who took part in the protest ranged from high school to college age. The protests were against new laws allowing criminal punishment for insulting the president and banning extramarital sex and gay and lesbian relationships. Not only are citizens affected by the new laws, but anyone visiting the country will be subject to criminal punishment as well.

Protests turned violent as tires were being lit on fire, bombs and firecrackers were thrown at barricaded streets, and police were being hit with rocks. President Joko Widodo—following civil unrest after the death of the students—expressed his condolences while requesting that a full investigation is done. Rallies have been taking place in Indonesia since 1998. The nation of Australia forewarned its citizens as to what was going on in Indonesia and advised of the possibilities of what can happen to a traveler if they break one of the new laws.

Civil Unrest In Bolivia Against President Evo Morales In October

During the October protests against President Evo Morales’ fourth election win, 31 people were killed. Protesters claimed that Morales won the election due to fraud. While counting the results, the supreme electoral tribunal suspended publicizing the results from an electronic count. It was not until 24-hours later they resumed reporting the count. Then the announcement was made that President Morales won for the fourth time.

After results were released, shops were closed, and the streets became barren due to roadblocks. Citizens used cars, wood planks, rope, and dumpsters as blockades and began demanding an audit. The Bolivian government agreed to have the Organization of American States perform the audit. As tension grew, a bounty of $50,000 (£38,000) was placed on President Morales head. Quickly after, President Morales resigned and fled to Mexico.

Civil Unrest In Catalonia In October

In October, 350,000 citizens gathered in protest over putting nine separatists leaders in prison with long sentences. They were put in prison as the Spanish government refused to recognize the 2017 referendum and deemed it illegal.

The demonstration was organized in emphasize Catalonia’s independence movement. A counterdemonstration turned violent as protesters targeted police headquarters. Protesters that were using stones and petrol bombs were met with police firing bean bags and using batons. Out of the 593 people injured, 226 were police officers.

Chileans Demand Economic Equality In October

What started out as a student lead protest against a 30 pesos ($0.04) hike in subway fares during rush hour quickly grew into Chileans demanding income equality, better health care and more money for education. As the protest grew, a state of emergency was declared. During the state of emergency, police used tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and pellets. Though the police decided to use force, the majority of the protesters were peaceful.

Then-Minister of Economy Juan Andres Fontaine initially responded to the protesters telling them to wake up earlier. Protesters response to Fontaine was to conduct mass fare evasion by jumping over the metro turnstiles and in some cases, destroying them. At least 22 people have died in the attempt of demanding greater social reform, five of them at the hands of the military. Over 1,200 civilians went to the hospital with injuries and 688 of those injuries were from weapons.

Civil Unrest Against Removing Fuel Subsidies In Ecuador In October

Protests erupted in October over the Ecuadorian government’s decisions to remove fuel subsidies, the introduction of austerity measurements, tax increases and the cutting of benefits and salaries of civil servants. President Lenin Moreno’s decision to make a deal with the International Monetary Fund to obtain $4,209 million in credit. Part of the agreement included the end of fuel subsidies, which would double the price of diesel fuel and increase regular fuel price by 30 percent.

Protests started on October 3 led by taxis, truck drivers, and buses. The following day, Moreno declared a state of emergency hours before the planned protest was set to start. The protests completely crippled the country’s transport network. Soon after, protests were held by indigenous groups, university students, and labor unions. Their goal was to hold an indefinite peaceful general strike till the government overturned its decision. Moreno responded that he would “not negotiate with criminals.”

Though the police met the demonstrators with force, demonstrators captured 10 police officers. They released the police after making them take off their riot gear and carry a coffin of a dead indigenous protester. After two weeks of protests, the Ecuadorian government came to an agreement with the protesters and returned fuel subsidies to previous levels on October 14.

67 Killed In Civil Unrest In Iraq In October

Since October, protests were formed accusing the Iraqi government of corruption and inefficient public services. The protests quickly formed into calls to overthrow the administration and stop the Iranian intervention in Iraq. The protests were halted on October 8 after the government fought back using bullets, snipers, hot water, hot pepper gas, and tear gas. At least 67 Iraqis were killed, and hundreds injured during the protests. The protests resumed on October 25.

A month and four days later, Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi announced that he would resign. President Barham Salih submitted a request of resignation via a letter, on December 26, to officials stating that he is refusing to appoint governor of Basra, Asaad Al Eidani as the new Prime Minister as it would not be approved by the demonstrators. The protests are considered the largest Iraq has had since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

250,000 Join In Civil Unrest In Columbia In November

In one of the largest protests Columbia has seen, over 250,000 people came together demanding widespread action against their right-wing government, led by President Ivan Duque. Columbians drew a list of grievances ranging from the lack of a national economic plan, battling corruption, and the killing of three human rights activists. The protest started as labor unions to strike but spread like wildfire as indigenous groups, pensioners and students joined the movement.

The protest started out peacefully but ended with explosions heard across the city and tear gas filling the air from riot police shooting tear gas towards the crowd of activists. After being in office for 15 months, Duque has not implemented the 2016 peace deal or any of the economic reforms, according to protesters. The protests ended with Duque implementing a curfew and the Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo opening 11 investigations into “alleged misconduct by members of the security forces”

Israel Calls For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu To Resign In November

Rallies were taking place in Tel Aviv because protestors felt that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should resign. Not only were the protestors seeking to be heard, but they wanted to be seen. Many were holding signs with statements of “Strong democracy, strong Israel,” and “Netanyahu, resign, Israel is more important,” while waving Israeli flags.  These statements are bold, strong and to the point. 

Thousands participated in the rally which was organized by the advocacy group, Movement for Quality Government. Netanyahu is facing several criminal charges which includes multiple counts of fraud, bribery and two cases of breach of trust. In total, he has three separate cases against him. Israel has never had a prime minister who was in office charged with crime, yet, the one who is being charged happens to be the prime minister who has served for the longest time. Netanyahu feels that the allegations are false and foul play is involved.

Civil Unrest Against Citizenship Law In India In December

Citizens of Delhi were cut off from the rest of the world as they protested the Citizenship Amendment Act, which strips many people of their citizenship. The act benefits Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Christian and Parsi refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who sought refuge in India before 2015 while denouncing others. Though the controversial act was met with hundreds of thousands in disagreement, the opinion on the act varied from person to person.

As tensions rose, three protesters died as well as thousands of others being detained. The Indian government decided to cut off communication by turning off mobile internet services in anticipation of additional protests. This did not hinder the movement, as it continued to grow. The Indian government decided to also initiate a curfew with the Indian Army and paramilitary forces deployed to control the protests. As of New Years, the Indian government restored the mobile internet.

Kelly Peluso contributed to this article.

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