How the whole world protested in 2014
From the racially polarized streets of Ferguson to the violent transfer of power in Burkina Faso, the world was rocked this past year by old-fashioned political protest.
In the U.S., race, class and the fate of our country’s climate motivated thousands to make their voices heard. The police-related deaths of unarmed black men Eric Garner and Michael Brown galvanized the nation and led to months of largely peaceful, but occasionally combative, action from the summer through the fall.
The rallying cry of activists — “Black Lives Matter” — became one of the most enduring phrases of 2014.
Meanwhile, an estimated 400,000 citizens troubled by the lack of legislative activity on the climate change front, united for a historic climate march in New York City. The Big Apple was also one of several sites where fast-food workers made their case for raising in the minimum wage. “Now, it’s not just about fast food workers,” said Kendall Fells, organizing director for Fast Food Forward, in an interview with msnbc. “Just about every low-wage service sector industry is getting involved, which is pretty much the heart of the American economy.”
The future of Hong Kong’s economy was just one of the issues at stake during heated pro-democracy demonstrations in that city during the winter. Venezuela faced similar upheaval in February following the death of longtime leader Hugo Chavez in 2013. Political tensions led to the collapse in October of the government in Burkina Faso, and martial law was declared in Thailand to prevent a full-blown coup in May.
Europe was not untouched by bitterness either. The Ukraine had to contend with riots and violence this December in protest of that country’s president, Viktor Yanukovich. The referendum to determine whether Scotland would remain part of the United Kingdom inspired great passion in the fall as well.
The activist movements of 2014 helped reaffirm the significance of speaking truth to power, and will continue to shape our world in the years to come.