Subject: Protests

January 2024, Volume 35, Issue 1

Does Democracy Have a Future in Pakistan?

The schism between Pakistan’s military establishment and former prime minister Imran Khan marks a new era of instability. Is the country experiencing the rise of an autocratic deep state or the fall of authoritarian populism?

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April 2023, Volume 34, Issue 2

Is Iran on the Verge of Another Revolution?

There have been numerous waves of protest against the country’s corrupt theocracy. This time is different. It is a movement to reclaim life. Whatever happens, there is no going back.

April 2023, Volume 34, Issue 2

The CCP After the Zero-Covid Fail

The regime’s ill-fated policy to eliminate covid from China spurred the largest protests in a generation. It also made Xi Jinping’s challenge of maintaining authoritarian control over Chinese society even harder.

July 2022, Volume 33, Issue 3

Sri Lanka’s Agony

A group of corrupt authoritarian powerholders has impoverished Sri Lanka and even brought starvation to the island. But behind their misrule lies the deeper and longer-term problem of unconstrained majority rule.

July 2020, Volume 31, Issue 3

A Glimpse of the Way Forward

For all the concern over authoritarianism’s advance, the competence of governance may be what determines the next chapter in the struggle between democracy and dictatorship.

July 2020, Volume 31, Issue 3

Authoritarian Survival: Iran’s Republic of Repression

The Islamic Republic is in a volatile, even prerevolutionary situation, hammered by foreign opposition and sanctions from the outside, and the disillusionment and discontent of its own people from within. But a catalyst needs to appear.

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July 2020, Volume 31, Issue 3

The Future of Nonviolent Resistance

In the decade leading up to the covid-19 pandemic, nonviolent civil resistance grew more popular than ever—but its effectiveness had already started to plummet. The future of nonviolent resistance may depend on movements’ ability to move beyond mass protests toward exploring alternative tactics and developing smarter, longer-term strategies.

July 2020, Volume 31, Issue 3

Bolivia’s Citizen Revolt

Evo Morales lost the presidency in November 2019 due not to a coup, but to a citizen revolt. After his controversial bid for a fourth consecutive term, the opposition mobilized against him and his regime disintegrated.

April 2020, Volume 31, Issue 2

Algeria: When Elections Hurt Democracy

Algeria’s massive wave of protesters wanted to put an end to sham elections. While the leaderless movement succeeded for a time, its failure showcased the lengths to which a country’s ruling elite will go to maintain its hold on power.

January 2020, Volume 31, Issue 1

The Instinct for Freedom

The mass protests that have taken place in 2019 in Hong Kong and elsewhere show that people’s desire for liberty cannot be extinguished.

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January 2020, Volume 31, Issue 1

Iranians Turn Away from the Islamic Republic

Iran is in the midst of an ideological crisis. Growing numbers of Iranians are rejecting the religious underpinnings of the Supreme Leader’s rule, and turning their backs on the Islamic Republic. The regime’s only response is harsher repression—a response that will deepen the anger that is bringing everyday Iranians out into the streets.

October 2019, Volume 30, Issue 4

Macron versus the Yellow Vests

The gilets jaunes movement erupted suddenly but has now apparently subsided without leaving a significant impact on electoral politics. Yet the tensions that gave rise to the working-class protests remain strong and are reshaping the political landscape of a divided France.

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October 2019, Volume 30, Issue 4

Sudan’s Uprising: The Fall of a Dictator

Amid mass protests, the personalist autocracy of longtime Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir fell to an April 2019 coup. With the country now being governed by a council composed of both opposition leaders and powerful security-service coupmakers, prospects for democratization remain uncertain.

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October 2014, Volume 25, Issue 4

From Politics to Protest

The protests that have been erupting around the world may signal the twilight of both the idea of revolution and the notion of political reformism.

July 2014, Volume 25, Issue 3

The Maidan and Beyond: The Russia Factor

The regime of Vladimir Putin has been a key driver of the crisis in Ukraine. Under challenge at home for several years now, it turned to Ukraine in part to firm up its own grip on power in Russia.

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January 2014, Volume 25, Issue 1

The Legacies of 1989: Bulgaria’s Year of Civic Anger

In 2013, Bulgaria’s historically passive citizenry exploded in outrage over soaring energy bills and shady elite actions. What does Bulgaria’s year of protest tell us about how civic anger is generated and when it becomes a transformative political resource?

July 2012, Volume 23, Issue 3

Putinism Under Siege: Can There Be a Color Revolution?

The recent protests in Russia raise the question of whether the Putin regime could fall to a “color” or electoral revolution like those that have ousted other autocratic regimes in postcommunist Europe and Eurasia over the past decade and a half. 

July 2011, Volume 22, Issue 3

Uganda: Museveni’s Triumph and Weakness

Despite signs of a cautious willingness to allow more political competition, the regime of newly reelected president Yoweri Museveni fell back on familiar habits of brutal repression when public unrest followed a sudden spike in the cost of living.

July 2011, Volume 22, Issue 3

Kyrgyzstan’s Latest Revolution

Having thrown out a corrupt, authoritarian president for the second time, this Central Asian republic has gained a new chance at securing a real democratic transition.

July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

China Since Tiananmen: Rural Protest

Read the full essay here. Although China’s farmers did not play a large role in the 1989 protests, they have been quite contentious since. Rural unrest has been triggered in part by reforms and in part by savvy “peasant leaders” who quickly seize opportunities that appear. Recently, many protest leaders have concluded that tame forms…

July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

China Since Tiananmen: Middle-Class Mobilization

Read the full essay here. Some of the many China stories to attract attention recently have involved NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) protests by largely middle class crowds gathering to demand a greater say in urban development plans. This article argues that such protests a) are a significant addition to the already complex landscape of…

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October 2008, Volume 19, Issue 4

Georgia’s Year of Turmoil

A domestic political crisis began brewing in Georgia long before the current conflict with Russia. Since the Rose Revolution, the country has been troubled by flawed elections, a “superpresidency,” and a malleable constitution.

April 2006, Volume 17, Issue 2

What Really Happened in Kyrgyzstan?

The March 2005 “Tulip Revolution” that toppled President Askar Akeyev is often grouped with the “color revolutions” in Georgia and Ukraine, but in many ways the Kyrgyz case was unique.

April 2001, Volume 12, Issue 2

The Return of “People Power” in the Philippines

The mass demonstrations that ousted President Joseph Estrada recalled those that had brought down dictator Ferdinand Marcos 15 years earlier. Yet the return of “People Power” raises some concerns about the health of Filipino democracy.

Winter 1990, Volume 1, Issue 1

Tiananmen and Beyond: After the Massacre

The following text is based upon remarks presented by Wuer Kaixi in Washington, D.C. on 2 August 1989 at a meeting cosponsored by the Congressional Human Rights Foundation and the National Endowment for Democracy.

Why Georgia Has Erupted in Protest

The country is at risk of collapsing into a full Russian autocracy, and Georgians understand it as a make-or-break moment. The strength and resolve of the country’s civil society will decide the outcome.

How to Dictator-Proof Your Money

Cash is king, even if you are an activist leading a democratic movement against some of the world’s worst dictators. That’s why Bitcoin has quickly become the currency of choice for dissidents working everywhere.

Inside the Fight to Save Israeli Democracy

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants the public to see his efforts to overhaul the Israeli judiciary as a “reform.” But people have seen it for what it is: a struggle over the very future of democracy itself.

Why the French Strike

Why are the French protesting this time? Emmanuel Macron is imposing deeply unpopular reforms, and it’s one of the only ways left to check an arrogant and tone-deaf president.

Breaking Han Silence

China’s recent protests marked a crucial milestone: The mainstream Chinese public, at home and abroad, finally spoke up for the Uyghurs and their plight.

Breaking Out of Xi’s Great Prison

Chinese citizens from Urumqi to Shanghai took to the streets, blank sheets of white paper in hand, to denounce the CCP and call for change. Xi Jinping’s repression and zero-covid lockdowns has united the public in empathy and anger.

Putin’s Big Gamble

The Kremlin’s order to call up Russians to fight in Ukraine risks massive protests. It’s the riskiest decision of Putin’s rule, and it could lead to his undoing.