global protests BBC

Global Protests, BBC



step (2) institute grow/grew/grown (2)
falter equality measure (2)
suffer research across (2)
elect perform see/saw/seen
desire content synchronize
IMF austerity slowdown
crisis mobilize lead/led/led
fare minor (2) public (2)
unrest strike (2) strike/struck/struck
cent stagnant struck a nerve
salary pension stand up to
abuse rampant stand/stood/stood
fund spark (2) private (2)
suffer flood (2) corruption
revolt injustice separatist
expert stall (2) step down
trap (2) overhaul steal/stole/stolen
focus attention feel/felt/felt
bill (3) carry out extradition
evolve stage (2) investigation
end up brutality handle (2)
site move on essentially
policy influence demand (3)
exist arena (2) introduce


Video: Global Protests, BBC



Across the globe, people are mobilizing in growing numbers.

What are the causes?

There are three main causes that seem to be central to these modern protests.

#1. Inequality

When economies stall, public services falter and the poorest often suffer the most.

Sirianne Dahlum, Peace Research Institute, Oslo, Noway: “Today we see people protesting against democracies that haven’t worked. So they’re discontent with the way elected politicians have performed, especially in the economic arena.”

Global Economic Growth: 3.6% in 2018; 3.0% in 2019.

The IMF says the world’s economy is in a synchronized slowdown, the worse since the 2008 global financial crisis.

In Ecuador, austerity measures led people to the streets. And in Chile, a minor train fare increase sparked national unrest.

Luciani Gomes, BBC News, South America: “The four-cent increase struck a nerve with many Chileans who were already unhappy with the cost of education, housing and health, and with stagnant salaries and low pensions.”

#2. Corruption

Protesters are also standing up to governments that abuse public funds. In Iraq, corruption is so rampant that hundreds of thousands have flooded onto the streets.

Iraqi Resident: “The people suffered injustice, so they revolted.”

Nearby in Lebanon, protesters also want the political system overhauled.

Eloise Alanna, BBC News, Middle East: “The Lebanese people are fed up with the political class, with corruption and the state of their country.

They want all of the leaders to step down, the stolen money to be returned, and they want a new government of experts to rebuild the country that they love.”

#3. Political Freedom

Many protesters feel trapped within a political system. In Spain, separatists continue to fight for independence for Catalonia.

But the world’s attention has been focused on Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Protester: “We are here to fight for the freedom of Hong Kong.”

Months of protests started after an extradition bill with China was introduced.

Martin Yip, BBC Chinese: “That evolved into a few other demands, including an independent investigation into these police brutality, as they called it, including how police handle protesters at different sites.

And it also ended up with more demand for greater democracy in the city.”

What does the future hold?

Sirianne Dahlum, Peace Research Institute, Oslo, Noway: “It remains to be seen, however, how these protests can move on to the next stage, which is essentially influencing policies and working with the existing leaders, and maybe the next leaders to carry out the changes that they desire.”


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1. In 2019, protests took place only in France and the US. True or false?

2. Were people protesting only about climate change? What was the first mentioned gripe?

3. Were the demonstrations in Chile solely due to the increase in the train fare?

4. In Middle Eastern governments, there is complete transparency, accountability and probity. Is this right or wrong? What do demonstrators want in Lebanon?

5. Do many Catalans primarily want higher wages and less corruption?

6. How has the protests in Hong Kong developed over the months?

7. Experts are certain about what will happen next. Everything is predictable. Is this correct or incorrect?


A. There have been protests in my city and country. Yes or no? Are protests common in your city?

B. Who demonstrates? What are they protesting about?

C. Do protests usually bring about change, are they futile, both, in the middle, it varies, it depends?

D. What should people, governments and businesses do?

E. What might happen in the future?

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