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Flashback 2014: 10 major protests that took the world by storm this year


As the year comes to an end, let's look back at the major protests that happened across the world in the year 2014.

1) New York protests

Protests were held across the nation over a New York grand jury's decision not to charge a white police officer in the chokehold-related death of an unarmed black man. Later, in Berkeley, masked protesters smashed windows and threw objects at police.

[Read - Flashback 2014: 20 famous personalities we lost in 2014]

The grand jury's decision came days after a St. Louis panel decided not to indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen. Thousands of people took to streets across the USA in protest of the New York case.

Demonstrators staged "die-ins" by lying on the floor of Grand Central Terminal in New York City and at Union Station in Washington on Saturday.

In Seattle, several hundred people marched downtown to police headquarters. The outcry over the rulings has left many police officers feeling betrayed and demonised.

2) Umbrella Revolution

The 2014 Hong Kong protests, also known as the Umbrella Revolution, began in September 2014 when members of the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong protested outside the Hong Kong Government headquarters and occupied several major city intersections after China's Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) announced its decision on proposed electoral reform.

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In disallowing civil nominations, the NPCSC made it clear that a 1200-member nominating committee, in which the composition remains subject to a second round of consultation, would elect two to three electoral candidates with more than half of the votes before the general public could vote on them.

This turned out to be one of the largest protests that took place in 2014.

3) Athens protests

Marking the anniversary of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos' death, at least 5,000 demonstrators marched in Athens. He was shot by an officer who has since been jailed.

Some attacked shops and hurled petrol bombs at riot police. Police officers used tear gas and a water cannon to disperse protesters.

[Read - Flashback 2014: Oops! They said it: 10 'sexist' remarks]

Grigoropoulos' killing on 6 December 2008 sparked violent riots across Greece, with cars being set alight and shops looted in a number of cities.

4) Kiss of Love

Kiss of Love protest is a non-violent protest against moral policing which started in Kerala and later spread to other parts of India.The movement began when a Facebook page called 'Kiss of love' asked the youth across Kerala to participate in a protest against moral policing in November, 2014, at Marine Drive, Cochin.

The movement received widespread support. After the initial protest in Kochi, similar protests were organised in other major cities like Delhi, Kolkata and Hydrabad.

It received opposition from various religious and political groups like Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha,SDPI, Vishva Hindu Parishad, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Sena and Ernakulam wing of Kerala Students Union.

On specific occasions, both the Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court have made it clear that kissing in public is not an obscene act and no criminal proceedings can be initiated, for kissing in public, through landmark judgments.

5) Azadi March

Azadi March

Pakistan's opposition leader Imran Khan has been agitating since mid-August outside parliament with his supporters, demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's ouster as he alleges that last year's general election, which his party lost and which brought Sharif to power, was rigged.

Khan had initially named this planned protest march "Tsunami march" but later changed the name to "Azadi march" (or the "Freedom march") since its slated start date coincided with Pakistan's 67th independence day on 14 August 2014.

He announced his plans to march with a million protesters to the nation's capital Islamabad to protest against Sharif's illegitimate government.

Khan assured the government that the protest march would be a peaceful protest culminating in a sit-in protest.

6) Students kidnapping in Mexico

Students kidnapping in Mexico

43 male students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers' College of Ayotzinapa went missing in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico, in September this year. According to official reports, they commandeered several buses and traveled to Iguala that day to hold a protest at a conference led by the mayor's wife. They were taken into custody and later, disappeared.

The events led to attacks on government buildings, and the resignation of the Governor of Guerrero, Ángel Aguirre Rivero, in the face of statewide protests.

The mass kidnapping of the students became one of the biggest political and public security scandals It led to nationwide protests, particularly in the state of Guerrero and Mexico City, and international condemnation.

7) Singapore Protests for PM's resignation

Singapore Protests for PM's resignation

Close to 200 individuals turned up for a protest event held at Hong Lim Park to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The event, titled "Is our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong the right person to lead Singapore?" was jointly organised by William Lim and Osman Sulaiman after a petition by Lim was circulated, which called for PM Lee to step down, considering "the fact" that he was not the right person to lead singapore.

8) Thai political crisis

Thai political crisis

Anti-government protests took place between November 2013 and May 2014, organised by the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), a political pressure group set up and led by former Democrat Party MP Suthep Thaugsuban. The protests eventually resulted in the removal of the incumbent prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, a coup d'état and the establishment of a military junta.

Deeply divisive in Thailand, the primary aim of the protests was the removal of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra'sinfluence on Thai politics and the creation of an unelected "people's council" to oversee reforms of the political system. Protesters viewed Thaksin as highly corrupt and damaging to Thailand's democracy.

9) Brazil world cup protests

Brazil world cup protests

The protests were primarily concerned with the spending of billions of reais of public money on stadiums for the World Cup. Prior to 2014, social movements opposed to Brazil hosting the Cup garnered support during the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013.

Though the demonstrations of 2014 were smaller than those that occurred during the FIFA Confederations Cup in the previous year, protesters and police clashed in almost every city hosting the games of the World Cup. There were more than 20 protests and 180 arrests across the various cities in the first week of the game.

10) Burkina Uprising

Burkina Uprising

The Burkinabé uprising was a series of demonstrations and riots in Burkina Faso that quickly spread to multiple cities. It all began began in response to attempts at changing the constitution to allow President Blaise Compaoré to run again and extend his 27 years in office.

Protests started in late October as unnamed opposition called for a blockade of parliament. Street battles were held during an anti-government rally by hundreds of thousands of demonstrators. After mounting domestic pressure, Compaoré resigned from his 27-year presidency on 31 October and Traoré took over as the interim head of state.

Are you aware of other major protests that happened across the world? Write to us in the comment below.

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