The year of the mass uprising has collided with the year of the coronavirus lockdown, leaving protest movements around the world stalled.
- The big picture, from Axios World Editor Dave Lawler: The enduring images of 2019 are of protest — from Hong Kong to Khartoum, across the Middle East and through much of Latin America.
Seemingly overnight, though, social distancing has made such mass demonstrations almost unthinkable.
During Hong Kong's protests, face masks were worn as a symbol of defiance and protection against tear gas. Now, the same masks are worn to protect against infection, AP notes.
- Organizers continue to press their demands for greater autonomy, but they won’t be backed by millions-strong demonstrations any time soon.
In India, protests against laws that discriminate against Muslims were intensifying in the weeks leading up to the coronavirus outbreak.
- Large gatherings are now illegal with the country entering lockdown. The site of one longstanding protest was cleared last week.
Planned protests are on hold everywhere from Algeria to Zimbabwe.
- In Algeria, anti-government protests had been held for 56 consecutive weekends, until last week.
- In Paris earlier this month, police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse Yellow Vest protesters who defied a ban on large gatherings.
- Climate activist Greta Thunberg has, for the time being, gone from leading young people on climate marches to urging them to stay home. Self-isolating after travel, she said she suspects she had the coronavirus.
Protesters are adapting to the times — from banging pots on balconies in Brazil, to gathering in a massive virtual demonstration in Israel.
- But the sorts of mass protests that brought down five world leaders in 2019 are on hold just about everywhere.
- Some autocratic-leaning governments will likely use that ban to their advantage.
Where things stand: Women in Mexico attempted a novel tactic on March 9. To protest violence against women, they held a “day without women” by staying inside their homes all day.
- Now, the world has moved inside. It’s the streets that are empty.
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🍾 P.S. Dave Lawler, an Axios original, yesterday stuck with his long-planned wedding to Melissa Dazo: "We weren’t able to have a small ceremony in the end, but we slipped on the rings, popped some champagne and celebrated anyways."