In recent years, millions of people have taken to the streets to protest their governments and claim their rights While protests are nothing new, the response to them has changed, as crowd-control weapons like tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons have become standards for protest suppression
So, where are some of the worst places to protest? Well, although destructive and even deadly public demonstrations happen around the world, a few places stand out as particularly hazardous One of these is Palestine Israel has been contentiously occupying the Palestinian territories for decades, and in recent years, Israeli security forces have been cracking down on local protesters In October 2015, tensions between Palestinians and Israeli security forces culminated in widespread protests, during which, Israeli forces aggressively used rubber bullets, water cannons, and unlawful arrests to put down dissent From October to December of 2015, Israeli police detained thousands of activists, and killed more than 130 Palestinians
Although a number of those who were unlawfully killed had taken part in stabbings, shootings, and other attacks, many were civilian bystanders Most of the Israeli security agency’s violations went unpunished This is not unlike Turkey, which has a long history of violent or even fatal police intervention at demonstrations Turkey’s constitution specifically grants freedom of peaceful assembly with or without the state’s permission, however, Turkish police routinely use excessive force to control protests This was demonstrated over the course of 2013 and 2014, when an estimated three and a half million people across the country protested their authoritarian president and his party
By the end of 2014, an estimated 45 people had died and more than 8 thousand people had been injured during demonstrations Security forces detained thousands of people, charging hundreds under the country’s anti-terror law, which considers any anti-government demonstrations as acts of terror In many cases, those who organized protests over social media were given longer sentences But, perhaps the most dangerous place to protest is Egypt During the 2011 Arab Spring revolution and subsequent demonstrations, more than 800 people were killed and roughly 6,000 were injured
Most of these casualties were a result of crowd-control weapons, like tear gas and rubber bullets Egyptian police were alleged to have used shotguns against protesters, filled with birdshot One officer was caught on video firing at protesters’ upper body to maximise injury These instances are not unique to the Middle East Over the last few decades, popular protests have become considerably more frequent all over the world
In 2014, a series of protests in Ukraine resulted in thousands of casualties That same year, protests broke out in Hong Kong, leading to hundreds of arrests and injuries Meanwhile, the United States saw violent uprisings, as thousands took to the streets of Ferguson, Missouri to protest the death of Michael Brown Local security forces responded with full riot gear, shotguns, tanks and M-4 assault rifles, not unlike those used by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan President Obama has since condemned these actions, and introduced legislation to prohibit local police from using military equipment
Until other governments follow suit, it’s likely that these dangerous protests will continue Violent protests and violent reactions are nothing new for Israel and Palestine, who have been fighting for decades To find out the source of their dispute, watch this video up top You can also learn about Egyptian corruption that set off their protests by checking out the video below Thanks for watching Seeker Daily, don’t forget to like and subscribe for new videos every day!