On a global scale, protests have become more interconnected than ever. No matter the catalyst of the revolts, rebellions, uprisings and revolutions which took place in 2019, there were translations and iterations of the people’s dissent against neoliberalism and authoritarianism across the globe. This went from raising each other’s and adapting to recreating or feminist anthems.

The year-long revolution in Sudan saw a dictator toppled who had ruled for decades, ushering in a transitional government. But protests were Many months on, the violence continues between police force and the protesting students, workers and political activists. There has been a huge death toll during the crackdown in  Finally, the threat remains that technology is or that it is simply shut down in a blackout, as happened in

We were joined by researchers, writers, activists and former protest participants from around the globe who shared their experiences and thoughts on what protest looked like for them in 2019. Here are 10 things we learned.

Women have been central to protests

Fakrriyyah Hashim explained how # , a movement when she shared the story of a young woman who suffered sexual abuse, spread from the north of Nigeria. "The fact that the most conservative part of the country began opening up about their harrowing experience of sexual violence motivated all those across Nigeria that had come in contact with #ArewaMeToo to open up."

Olabukunole Williams, a women and youth rights activist who protested against the as well as agreed who said "civil space has shrunk", particularly as a fair media

In journalist Lara Bitar, founder of a new collective-owned media called The Public Source, there were “urgent priorities that need to be met ... such as being able to and having

Kurdish journalist Lawk Ghafuri in the called for by young, unemployed workers.

A movement’s message works best when it comes from the bottom up

Renato Reyes Jr his experiences as a prominent mass movement leader in the  

"Concepts such as freedom, democracy, human rights, sovereignty need not be complicated. We relate these to the daily experience of the people."

Isaac Boada, a political science student at the Central University of Ecuador, "You need to understand what is happening to an individual – otherwise people do not protest."

2019 was the year of the nameless, leaderless movement

Can the lack of a leader The Sudanese revolution would not have succeeded said who works in climate adaptation. 

Both Ahmed Al Saidy, a former Arab spring protester and writer from Egypt, and believe not having a clear spokesperson to run the protests is which is in its third month of anti-system protests. It has also united some as Tarek Ali Ahmed, a student and writer, noted. "It was one of the earliest signs that this time it was different,"

Social media as organiser and amplifier

Social media is one reason why a movement can be leaderless or influential globally. the year-long movement asking president Emmanuel Macron to enact pension reforms began when petitions were created online and videos were posted by everyday workers.

In Sudan, the hashtag travelled far, creating international pressure. Yassin added that a where over 100,000 members had once posted about "beauty & shopping", of police and security services in an effort to name and shame those committing violent acts.

Ales Herasimenka, a researcher based in Belarus, the Facebook group: "One of the important prerequisites of the authoritarian context … is to be able to mobilise people who are typically disinterested in politics."

Technology carries potential in other ways. When Maud Jean Michel, a radio presenter based in Haiti, who have disappeared in protests, Ayoub and Mara Rodriguez Pera shared an idea about how have worked to document abuses in the past.

Modern movements need to think long term

Do most protests need a medium to long-term goal to build a movement? For some of the protestors, the in the short term. In Hong Kong, civil liberties were protected when a contested extradition bill was in and Algeria, key figures stepped down.

As "People woke up and we realised that this wasn’t just about the subway prices, it was about our dignity and search for a better way of life and a fair system.

For Reyes Jr, to go back to "schools and communities and workplaces" to effect change in the longer term.

Most movements will not achieve their goals

Why do people stop protesting?

Some contributors factored in which is the case in Iraq. As the Lebanese chanted,  Herasimenka, who was an election observer previously in Belarus, to situations in Iran and Iraq, where essential freedoms, such as the right to free speech or assembly, are being suppressed. 

And what if the premise of a movement simply cannot get traction? Jonathan Fernandes is a junior government doctor based in a rural hospital in Zimbabwe, where In a revolt initiated because of poor salaries stretched under a collapsing economy, a union leader was abducted for five days and hundreds of doctors have been fired. “The biggest challenge is that there has been no collective civic participation,” Unsurprisingly the doctors have lost a huge amount of public sympathy as it is the very weakest and most vulnerable that ultimately suffer.” 

Getting creative to combat burnout

In Chile, the shared a feminist song called “Un Violador Eres Tú” (“The Rapist is You”), the lyrics of which were based on the writing of Rita Segado, an Argentine-Brazilian feminist anthropologist. “In Chile it became a way to protest in light of the ongoing social unrest,” a freelance journalist based in Santiago. The lyrics to this song were shared, and reprised in countries including Uruguay, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Turkey, and Lebanon. 

Burnout is a real effect when momentum is lost. changing the type of protest. Namata Serumaga-Musisi, a diaspora coordinator for agreed that it is about "It takes several forms, from marches, to calls-to-action at events, to installations at festivals." Ayoub added:

Being intersectional is one way of making an impact

Serumaga-Musisi, now based in Ghana, takes a pan-African approach to protest. “I am working with and engaging non Ugandans in the push to liberate Ugandans," "I use my distance to raise awareness among Africans of what is happening on the ground ...

a Dutch researcher based in Barcelona, shared a critique with an example of against Daniel Ortega, the president: “the movement has been much more vocal by expressing solidarity with the (#SOSCampesinos) than with the indigenous and afro-descendant struggles”. 

Dissent in 2019 was about inequality

For Ghafuri, the is at the core of dissent; for a sociologist and activist known as the Fighter-General of the said: “The economic system … is the basis for political engagement. Global capitalism has put more premium on money than on lives, liberties and social cohesion; luxury for a few over the necessities of all … When people are pushed to this limit, they will fight back.” 

For Mexican activist the reason for this is  He added that protests "started 500 years ago with , echoing an upcoming book by showing that colonised societies have faced the most inequality in history.

The future of the movement is with women, indigenous groups, and youth

For Ning1no, the protest movement needs to change radically in its demands to be effective in the future: He also a rise in movements run by women and indigenous people, giving more power to those who are disenfranchised.

But in Iraq or Nigeria, as Ghafuri and Williams pointed out,

that the future is also in the hands of youth, as witnessed with the climate marches, migrants, and people of colour. 

Yellow vest activist Marc Boyer explained why he and fellow protestors in France thought that it was a good idea to run for the in 2019, though they were unsuccessful:

With arrests of activists continuing in Hong Kong over the new year, the viral effect of digital media, and the continuation of demands beyond minor concessions or political resignations, 2020 promises to be a year where popular movement will continue. 

Thank you to the journalists, researchers, entrepreneurs, junior doctors, students, sociologists, civil society leaders, artists and activists who made themselves available to join us for this conversation:

Joey Ayoub, Lara Bitar, Tarek Ali Ahmad (Lebanon), Ahmad Al Saidy (Egypt), Lawk Ghafuri (Iraq), Fakhrriyyah Hashim, Olabukunole Williams (Nigeria), Lina Yassin (Sudan), Namata Serumaga-Musisi, Hardi Yakubu, (Uganda, Ghana), Jonathan Fernandes (Zimbabwe), Côme Dunis, Marc Boyer (France), Ales Herasimenka (Belarus), Renato Reyes, Jr. (Philippines), Mara Rodriguez Pera, Tamara Antonia Martinez (Chile), Patricia Barrera (Colombia), Maud Jean Michel (Haiti), Ning1no (Mexico) and Isaac Boada (Ecuador).

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