Ang Bayan
December 21, 2020

The pandemic brought forth protests of millions of peoples

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The year 2020 saw an extremely unprecedented economic downturn and health crisis. Millions of people were infected and have died, while many others have lost their jobs and incomes. Poverty and hunger worsened across the globe. Instead of providing aid and support, and strengthening public health systems, many governments opted to resort to curtailing civil rights and fascism to suppress the demands of their peoples. These conditions, on top the longstanding crisis of the capitalist system, served as a fertile ground for mass protest movements to emerge and spread. These actions were participated in by the highest number of peoples in the past five decades.

This includes the protest of 250 million farmers and workers in India against the neoliberal agricultural policies imposed by the pro-imperialist Modi regime. Millions marched to the national capital and other parts of the country, and got past through thousands of barricades and police checkpoints to demand their government to junk all its anti-people measures and provide them aid. The protest movement gained wide support from middle forces, media and other institutions. India is currently the second higest in terms of Covid-19 infections.

In the US, the powerful Black Lives Matter movement gained ground amid the onslaught of the worst health crisis in the country. Massive protests broke out and began to spread in May. It peaked in June wherein approximately 26 million protested in various parts of the country. As of October, the said movement was able to mount more than 7,000 protest actions. The movement further gained strength due to the people’s growing discontentment over Donald Trump’s failed pandemic response, as well as his fascist and racist policies. The movement has actively campaigned against Donald Trump’s presidential bid last November. The US has recorded the highest number of infections and fatality across the globe.

In Indonesia, hundreds of thousands of workers participated in 3-day general strike in about 60 locations against a bill that deny them of their benefits and pave way for contractualization.

In Thailand and Hongkong, hundreds of thousands also protested against the political systems and repressive policies of their respective countries. Around 100,000 individuals participated during the height of protests which demanded an dismantle the absolute powers of the monarchy in Thailand. In Hongkong, there are continuing protests against the China-backed extradition law. Both movements are spearheaded and mostly comprised of the youth.

In Israel and Lebanon, tens of thousands rallied against the failed pandemic responses of their respective governments, the economic downturn caused by the lockdowns, as well as the corruption of their high officcials. Massive protests in Spain and Turkey also pressed for an increase in aid. In France, Italy, UK and Belgium, where the impact of the first wave of infections was worst, health workers continue to protest for a just compensation and protection.

This December, more than 50,000 rallied in France against brutality and racism. In Nigeria, the successfully asserted their demand to dismantle SARS (counterpart of SWAT in the Philippines) which is notorious for brutal human rights violations.

Since March, series of protests were mounted by poor residents of Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala and Chile to demand aid and budget for social services, as well as increased support for health workers. Biggest of which was in Chile where 120,000 rallyists marched to assert women’s rights and condemn the inflation which has resulted in extremely high food prices and water rates. In Colombia, workers launched a general strike against human rights violations amid rising cases of Covid-19 infections in the country.

AB (2020-12-21): The pandemic brought forth protests of millions of peoples