Econo-protests from Santiago to Beirut
A state of emergency has been declared in Chile following protests that erupted Oct. 18—initially over transit fare hikes in Santiago but quickly escalating to an uprising over general economic agony. Radicalized youth have blocked thoroughfares, burned buses and ransacked shops, while whole families have filled the streets in a nationwide cacerolazo—beating pots and pans to express outrage over the high cost of living. Protesters have similarly taken the streets, erected barricades and clashed with police in Lebanon, where a state of "economic emergency" has been declared. Again, demonstrations were initially sparked by government plans to impose a tax on text messaging, but protests have continued even after the tax was rescinded in response to the upsurge of popular anger Oct. 17. Demonstrators have revived the slogan from the 2011 Arab Revolution, "The people demand the fall of the regime."
In another echo of the Arab Revolution, Jordan saw its longest public-sector strike ever as teachers walked off the job to demand higher wages last month. The strike finally ended Oct. 6, when the government agreed to a wage hike, despite recent pledges of austerity measures to the International Monetary Fund. (InfoBae, KaosEnLaRed, AFP, The Hill, Middle East Eye, Deutsche Welle, Reuters, Reuters)