The Biggest Protests In History

10 Biggest Protests In History 10 Tiananmen Square We can’t start a video with this title without mentioning the events of Tiananmen Square

It was the 1980s and China was facing an internal crisis within the members of the Communist Party There were those calling for rapid changes and those wanting to maintain strict state control Among those demanding change, there were the students, who led the first protests in the mid-1980s By the spring of 1989, the protests grew, demanding greater political freedom and an educational system adequate to prepare them for a free-market capitalism system When former Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang, who had tried to introduce democratic reforms, died, protesters were spurred to continue

Tens of thousands marched to Tiananmen Square and, in the following weeks, the crowd grew up to one million people At that point, the Chinese government declared martial law On June 3rd the army walked toward the square with tanks, shooting at and crushing protesters China's statement at the time said that 200 civilians died but, in 2017 newly released documents reported that the army crackdown caused the death of AT LEAST 10,000 people You may have heard of Tank Man, a Chinese man immortalised facing down a row of tanks heading away from the square

Today he’s the symbol of the tragic events of Tiananmen Square 9 Berlin Wall Protests Now, on November 9th 1989 the Berlin Wall, the barrier that divided the city for 28 years, finally broke open It was a historical moment, not only for the broken families that could reunite but, with the fall of the wall, East and West Germany reunited too Plus, it also marked the end of the Cold War

Many lost their lives trying to escape from the East to the Westside over the years But that didn’t stop people trying And it was right because of the large number of people escaping on the other side that in the end the Wall – literally and figuratively – fell But a big part was also done by protesters on both sides On October 9, an unprecedented crowd of 70,000 peaceful demonstrators marched in central Leipzig demanding freedom

The protest movement was unstoppable: In just one month, the newly constituted East German civil rights organisations became unstoppable Leipzig reached 100,000 people and the protests soon spread across East Germany One month later, the Wall fell 8 The Salt March The Salt March, dated April 1930, was not a march claiming the supremacy of salty food over bland meals, but rather an actual act of civil DISOBEDIENCE

Led by no less than Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi – Gandhi to his friends – himself But first, we have to go back to 1882, when Britain prohibited Indians from collecting or selling salt Instead, they were forced to buy the vital mineral from their British rulers Which is already absurd in itself… On top of that, they also charged a heavy salt tax! As usual, the poorest were the ones to lose out Now, here comes Gandhi… Once he returned from South Africa, where he fought for the civil rights of Indians living there, he decided the time for imperial rules was over

He came up with the best way he knew to fight the British law: a non-violent protest Gandhi led a march from his religious retreat near Ahmedabad to the Arabian Sea coast, for 240 miles With initially just a dozen of followers, by the end of the pilgrimage, millions had joined the cause 60,000 people were even jailed for it Unfortunately, the Salt March didn’t end as planned but Gandhi's perseverance finally led to India independence in 1947

7 Indian Anti-corruption Protests The Salt March wasn’t the only big protest in India In April 2011, anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare [an-NA haz-ar-ie] began a hunger strike with very few hopes of success but with strong ideals in mind Unexpectedly, he was quickly joined by 1,500,000 million people, who camped and campaigned together outside the government buildings in support of him Interesting

but what were they protesting for? And why was the prompt support to the activist so surprising? First, we have to acknowledge that, since British colonisation, India has been characterized by political and power corruption Till this point, the issue was accepted by many as a fact of their political life Hazare’s protest began to support the Citizen’s Ombudsman Bill, a legislation that would hold public figures to account

The immediate support of Hazare was so unexpected because of the deeply-rooted cultural sense of acceptance towards political corruption So, seeing protests held in Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Calcutta and across the country, meant people's ideology was changing Even if none of the protesters' demands were met, in the end, those protests marked an active change in the fight against Indian corruption 6 The Iraq War Protests Now, let’s move back to Europe where, on February 15th 2003, there were coordinated protests against the imminent Iraq war across 60 countries worldwide

Social researchers described the event as “the largest protest in human history” Goodbut, then why focusing only on Europe then? Well, the protests took place all over the world, but one particular protest turned out to be monumental

Rome was the city with the highest concentration of protesters It was estimated that tens of thousands of anti-war demonstrators marched through central Rome against President Bush's visit Bush was visiting the city to celebrate the defeat of fascism in World War II – The old trick of "If it wasn't for us" it's always a winning strategy Anyway, protesters were calling for the withdrawal of the 3,000 Italian troops in Iraq, waving rainbow flags and "No to War" and "Not in my name" signs The protest drew 150,000 people, according to organisers To get the impact the rally had at the time, The Guinness World Records book of 2004 called Rome protest as the biggest anti-war rally in history

5 Arab Spring The Arab Spring is probably the largest African movement of recent history The protest began in 2011 in Tunisia but, in just a few months, they had spread across all the Arabic-speaking countries in North Africa and the Middle East It was around that time that the protests gained the name of Arab Spring What was the protests’ aim? In Tunisia, where it all started, protesters were set off by Mohamed Bouazizi's [bway-zee-zee] death, a Tunisian street vendor, who killed himself in January 2011

It appeared that the man had taken this course of action because police officers, who attempted to shut down his business with no recourse, had been harassing him Bouazizi's death was a point of no return Hundreds of protesters marched in the streets against government corruption and Tunisian autocratic president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali And it worked A month later, after 23 YEARS in power, he fled to Saudi Arabia

Thanks to social media, pro-democratic protests rapidly spread across the neighbouring countries, causing the fall of other governments, such as Egypt, Libya, and Yemen 4The March On Washington Of 1963 Washington has witnessed some many marches over the centuries, in fact, it still does, the Black Lives Matter protests in front of the White House are still going these days BUT, for the importance and impact it had, the mother of them all is the march on Washington of 1963 On August 28th 1963, an interracial assembly of about 250,000 people gathered at Washington Lincoln Memorial to demand equal justice for all citizens under the law

More than 3,000 members of the press covered the event, which has been named “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” The march had a historical impact on many aspects First and foremost, following the protest, Martin Luther King Jr and other civil rights leaders met with President Kennedy at the White House to discuss what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964 The march was also the scene of King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech Now, 57 years later, as many had pointed out, the time for dreaming is up

It is time for facts and concrete action 3 Women’s March 54 years after Martin Luther King’s march, Washington has witnessed another historical rally: the Women’s March It was 2017, the day after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump The Women’s Marches took place, not only in Washington but around the world, with millions of demonstrators taking part

Women took the streets protesting against Trump, off the back of misogynistic statements and inequality As we know now, that wouldn’t be an exceptional case, and many other protests against the US president would have followed But back to the Washington march of 2017… As reported by The Washington Post, the march was probably the largest single-day demonstration in recorded US history

A total of 5,246,670 people marched against Trump, and that was only in the United States! 2 The Orange Revolution The Orange Revolution took place in late 2004 Hundreds of thousands of people flooded Kiev's main square to protest the results of the Ukrainian presidential election The mass protest lasted two months and it was worth it Protesters managed to call for a second run-off election, and this time, it was the opposition candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, won the round

Yushchenko was supported because of his pro-Western ideas Ironically, just a few years later, he would have faced a wave of protests, similar to the one that brought him to power In 2013 he decided not to sign a wide-ranging association agreement with the European Union – But that's another story, another time, another revolt Now, why is it called ORANGE Revolution? The answer’s actually quite simple

Orange was the colour originally adopted by Yushchenko's supporters An eyesore, but quite effective in its non-fashion statement 1 Stonewall The Stonewall riots of 1969 are so-called because they initially took place at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Christopher Street, Greenwich Village, New York Stonewall wasn't the nicest venue in Greenwich Village, but it was an affordable place to meet for the gay community

But back to the riotsOn June 24th, police began their raid at Stonewall, planning to tear up the bar and shut it down for good However, police encounter resistance almost immediately

A crowd, of 2,000 at its highest, gathered across the street, throwing coins, bricks, bottles, and more against the police 21 people were arrested and many police and rioters were injured But a spark was ignited A spark that lasts till these days On June 28th 1970, thousands of people returned to Greenwich Village for the first Christopher Street Liberation Day march, which later became the annual Pride parade, in New York and worldwide

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