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‘The Protestor’ voted Corporate Dispatch Person of the Year

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From Bolivia to Lebanon to Ethiopia to Malta itself, people are taking to the streets to protest. Protests where angry citizens have swelled the streets of cities across the globe this year, pushing back against a wide range of policies but often expressing a common grievance — the establishment’s failure to heed their demands.

The Protestor came on top in the survey which saw Greta Thunberg come in a close second…another symbol of the world’s anger and who managed to organise the masses worldwide in a common cry in defence of the world’s climate.

The wave of demonstrations is driven mainly by young people protesting against stagnant economy and corruption in the highest levels of government as well as, in some cases, by the ever-growing inequality amongst the population.

The demonstrations in Chile and Lebanon have been the largest in years and seemed to have caught their governments by surprise. But other countries, such as Ecuador and Iraq, have also been gripped by protests corruption and the dire economic situation, and the situation is still fluid.

Demonstrations in Hong Kong proved an inspiration to others around the world, though in each country has its different reasons. Protests in Hong Kong stem from long simmering discontent with what many residents of this Chinese territory consider constant erosion of the liberties they once enjoyed as a British colony.

But, maybe even before the Hong Kong protests, inspirations came from the demonstrations that paralysed Paris and other major French cities for many weekends this year by what was dubbed the “Yellow Vests” protests.

Recent studies have shown that the root of most of these protests stem from the financial crisis of 2007-08 where it exposed systemic failings and induced years of austerity and insecurity for millions of people and with the elite unaccountability exposed like never before. Now it often takes only a small move to spark a protest — in Chile it was a metro ticket increase, in Iran and France it was higher fuel costs, in Lebanon a “WhatsApp tax”. Protests that then ballooned in greater ones.

It also produced an acute sense of unfairness, in particular among young people who see their prospects of earning a decent living slipping away with every price hike or benefit cut.

The spontaneous protests that erupted in France, initially were a reaction to the financial situation, but eventually endorsed various other grievances of how France was being run.

A defining factor in all these protests, French and others, is the way modern technology is increasingly being adopted to organise the protests.

Though protests for economic and political reasons have been a mainstay in recent history, the world is now witnessing a new phenomenon of protests that are linked to the environment and climate change.

People like the Swedish youngster Greta Thunberg and activists from the Extinction Rebellion movement have been on the forefront, protesting in cities around the world, as they demand urgent action from governments.

Some protests succeed through the perseverance and determination of the protesters and other factors that influence the targeted issues. Others drag on for what seems an indefinite period in a tumultuous battle between the people in the streets and the decision makers. Suffice to mention the ongoing crises in Venezuela.

Experts say the multitude of long-running protests, some of which have carried on for weeks or even months at a time and where young people often took the lead, could provide mutual energy while also inspiring new movements.

We would like to thank the 483 readers who took part in the survey.

The full results follow:

Survey results

The Editorial Team 

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