Econo-protests from Santiago to Beirut

Santiago protest

A state of emergency has been declared in Chile following protests that erupted Oct. 18—initially over transit fare hikes in Santiago but quickly escalating to an uprising over general economic agony. Radicalized youth have blocked thoroughfares, burned buses and ransacked shops, while whole families have filled the streets in a nationwide cacerolazo—beating pots and pans to express outrage over the high cost of living. Protesters have similarly taken the streets, erected barricades and clashed with police in Lebanon, where a state of “economic emergency” has been declared. Again, demonstrations were initially sparked by government plans to impose a tax on text messaging, but protests have continued even after the tax was rescinded in response to the upsurge of popular anger Oct. 17. Demonstrators have revived the slogan from the 2011 Arab Revolution, “The people demand the fall of the regime.”

In another echo of the Arab Revolution, Jordan saw its longest public-sector strike ever as teachers walked off the job to demand higher wages last month. The strike finally ended Oct. 6, when the government agreed to a wage hike, despite recent pledges of austerity measures to the International Monetary Fund. (InfoBae, KaosEnLaRedAFPThe Hill, Middle East EyeDeutsche Welle, Reuters, Reuters)

Photo: KaosEnLaRed

  1. State of emergency extended in Chile

    Chile’s president expanded a state of emergency beyond the capital as the death toll from three days of violence rose to 11. “We are at war with a powerful and uncompromising enemy that respects nothing and no one,” Sebastián Piñera declared. (The Guardian)

  2. Lebanon’s prime minister resigns

    Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced he is resigning, succumbing to the demands of protesters who have staged nationwide demonstrations for nearly two weeks. The three-time prime minister has led a national unity government, which included some of his political adversaries, for less than two years. In recent months, the country saw rapid economic deterioration, ballooning debt and rising prices.  (CNN)

  3. Hezbollah supporters destroy Lebanese protest camp

    Hundreds of baton-wielding Hezbollah supporters rampaged through the main anti-government protest camp in Beirut Oct. 29, torching tents and chasing away protesters. Riot police raced to the scene but seemed powerless to stop the counter-protesters, who chanted Shiite religious slogans as they attacked the camp. (AP)