It is evident that national elections are not sufficient to guarantee democracy. As we have seen many times over the past year, the people have had to take to the streets in order to resist government corruption and/or oppressive measures.
Most recently, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Barcelona to demand that the Spanish government accept more refugees. The demonstration was supported by the new progressive mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau.
And in the Philippines capital of Manila, at least 10,000 people joined the “Walk for Life” march on February 18, to protest against President Duterte’s brutal crackdown against drug dealers and users. It marked the largest show of opposition from the Roman Catholic Church against the brutality of the government’s anti-drugs campaign, which has seen more than 7,600 mostly poor people killed in the past seven months without any judicial procedure.
In the major cities of Romania last month hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets against a decree that would have decriminalised abuses of public office. The demonstrations forced the government to withdraw the controversial law, but the protests are continuing with the demand that the government resign.
Following the inauguration of President Donald Trump in January, millions of people joined in the Women’s Marches in the major cities of the United States, to fight for a new era of civil rights. As CPNN has documented, this is part of the ample evidence that the post-election fightback to defend peace and human rights is underway.
Over 40,000 people participated in October in human chains throughout Honduras, including in the capital, Tegucigalpa and about 300 other cities, protesting against violence and homicide rates. High-ranking politicians and business tycoons have been implicated in a wave of violence against environmental activists, with at least 123 land and environmental activists murdered since a military coup d’état forced out the populist president Manuel Zelaya.
An estimated 20,000 women and men marched in Jerusalem for the final rally of the Women Wage Peace “March of Hope” in October. The March of Hope culminated in a historic rally outside the Prime Minister’s Residence, demanding a political solution to the conflict. Unfortunately, at this point, the conflict seems to be getting worse rather than better.
Tens of thousands of people marched on October 5 in at least 16 cities in Colombia demanding the government and the opposition to reach a peace agreement with the FARC, after the rejection of the agreement with the guerrillas in a plebiscite. In November the Congress of Colombia approved the agreement, but congressional opponents of the deal had walked out of the chamber in protest before the vote took place.
Also in October, massive mobilizations by women in Poland forced the government to reject a proposed amendment that would have added more restrictions to their already restrictive abortion laws.
Other massive mobilizations against government corruption took place last year in South Korea, Brazil and Malaysia. In South Korea, the President was ultimately impeached, although observers consider that the problem of government corruption persists. In Brazil, the problems continue with less than 15% of Brazilians approving the present government. And in Malaysia, despite the accusations of corruption, prime minister, Najib Razak remains “untouchable.”
So far some government changes can be seen in Romania, Poland and South Korea and the Colombian peace accord was officially endorsed, while time will tell if public pressure can lead to changes in the other situations described above.
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