Protests Erupt Around the World


The government of the landlocked African nation, Burkina Faso, fell apart last Thursday when mass protests rocked the capital city, Ouagadougou. The protests started when it appeared President Blaise Compaoré would lift a term limit on his presidency. Compaoré has ruled the ex-French nation since 1987 when he led a coup d’état against President Thomas Sankara.  Yacouba Isaac Zida, the second in command of the Presidential Guard has since taken over as the head of state. The United States has a vested interest in Burkina Faso because of its proximity and usefulness in fighting Islamic extremism in nearby countries in central Africa.

Large demonstrations in Belgium over austerity measures started peacefully but turned violent on Thursday of last week. Over 100,000 people protested the new measures in Brussels by overturning cars and throwing other objects leading to some groups being charged by riot police. Other strikes have been planned to protest Prime Minister Charles Michel’s economic reforms.

Activists in Hong Kong continue to protest in favor of reform towards democracy, and about 1,000 protesters marched in the streets yesterday. Meeting with Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on Sunday as well, Chinese President Xi Jingping said that any reforms to the government in Hong Kong must follow the principle of “one country, two systems.” His comments suggest it is unlikely the pro-democratic protesters will be able to choose their own candidates for Hong Kong’s chief executive.

Protesters, angered by the disappearance of 43 college students in September, set fire to the door of the presidential palace in Mexico City. One group of masked demonstrators broke through the fence around the palace and set the door on fire. The government has stated that corrupt police officers handed the students over to gang members of Guerreros Unidos, who then proceeded to execute the 43 students. The government’s handling of the situation, as well as the general corruption and violence in many areas of Mexico have infuriated the protesters with many blaming the deaths on the Mexican government.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s plan to tax the internet has been abandoned for the time being. The rallies against the tax proposals reached numbers nearing 50,000, and many more joined social networking pages dedicated to ending the proposals. The Prime Minister had faced little opposition until these protests.

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