Photo: © picture alliance / ASSOCIATED PRESS | STR)

China in transitionary Myanmar. Challenging paths to democratization and peace

The recent military coup in Myanmar reversed a decade-long experiment towards incremental political liberalization. At the same time, it also brought China’s engagement there back into the spotlight, and initial Chinese reactions led to suspicions that Beijing had welcomed or even aided the return to military rule. However, the reality of China’s role in Myanmar’s democratic transition and simultaneous peace process is far more complicated, and instructive for its overall engagement in conflict societies.

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Protests in the Rif, Northern Morocco, May 2017. | Photo: © Anass Sedrati via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Ten Years After the Arab Spring: How Stable is Morocco Really?

Ten years after the onset of the February 20 Movement, its variant of the “Arab Spring”, Morocco is still perceived as a bedrock of stability in the region. However, while the king successfully contained the 2011 uprising, under the surface the rift between state and society is still widening. As public trust continues to erode, Moroccans increasingly turn their attention to the streets in order to air their grievances. Drawing parallels to Algeria, which saw its dictator unexpectedly fall in 2019, this article questions the paradigm of Moroccan stability. The next wave of protests may not be so distant after all.

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Die Proteste der indischen Landbevölkerung dauern an, hier zwei Demonstranten in Delhi im Februar 2021. | Photo: picture alliance / ZUMAPRESS.com | Naveen Sharma

Bäuer*innenproteste in Indien und anderswo: Der Aufstand des Landes

Indien erlebt derzeit die größten Proteste seiner Geschichte: Millionen Bäuer*innen sind mit ihren Traktoren in die indische Hauptstadt Delhi gezogen. Angesichts einer geplanten Gesetzesinitiative zur Liberalisierung des Agrarmarktes fürchten Millionen um ihre Existenz. Längst haben die Proteste auch auf Themen von Demokratie, Repräsentation und Kultur übergegriffen. Doch nicht nur in Indien sind Agrarpolitik, Lieferketten, und ländliche Produktionsbedingungen zu hoch politisierten Themen geworden.

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The annuled parliamentary elections in October 2020 roused mass protests against the winning parties and paved the way for the 2021 presidential and parliamentary elections (Photo: picture alliance, Abylai Saralayev/TASS).

At a Crossroads. Kyrgyzstan after the recent elections

Following its parliamentary elections in October 2020, Kyrgyzstan found itself facing post-election protests and a political crisis which resulted in a new political landscape. On 10 January 2021, Kyrgyz citizens voted for a new president and a fast-tracked constitutional reform to return to a presidential system. Although the protests in October 2020 resulted in political turnover, their momentum is currently being used to concentrate power in the hands of the president. Autocratic tendencies, corruption scandals, and socioeconomic grievances, which were further aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic, have marked recent developments in Kyrgyzstan.

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Proteste in Sudan, 2019. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Esam Idris | CC BY-SA 4.0

Nichts ist vorbei! Zehn Jahre Arabische Aufstände

Vor zehn Jahren brachten Massenproteste den tunesischen Diktator Ben Ali zu Fall. Weitere Aufstände folgten, aber auch Bürgerkriege, regionale Instabilität und Flucht. Ab 2016 jedoch begann eine zweite Welle an großen Demonstrationen, die 2019 von Algerien bis in den Irak Demokratie und soziale Gerechtigkeit forderten und Präsidenten und Regierungen stürzten. Statt also nur zu fragen, was von den arabischen Aufständen blieb, sollten wir genau hinschauen, welche Transformationen weiterhin laufen und diskutieren, wie Europa die Prozesse des Wandels unterstützen kann.

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On January 10 2021, the Kyrgyz people will be called upon to elect a new President. | Photo: flickr, Ronan Shenhav | CC BY-NC 2.0

Kyrgyzstan Before the Presidential Elections

Kyrgyz citizens will vote for a new president on 10 January 2021. Protests have caused the annulation of the parliamentary elections of 04th October 2020 which resulted in a series of high-ranked officials’ resignations and the third ouster of a president in the country’s recent history. Since then, the political landscape is changing quickly. Recent developments, including an initiated constitutional reform process, cast doubts on the future democratic path of Kyrgyzstan.

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"La Marcha Más Grande de Chile" took place during the 2019 protest movement in Chile. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Natalia Reyes Escobar | CC BY-SA 4.0

One Year Later: The Legacy of Latin America’s 2019 Mass Protests

Between October and December 2019, mass protests swept Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador. A year later, the legacies of these episodes of contention look very different. While in Chile protests enforced the initiation of a constitutional reform process that continues on track, recent elections in Bolivia reversed last year’s political about-face. In Ecuador and Colombia, the 2019 mass protests did not initiate comparable policy changes to begin with – but this doesn’t mean they had no lasting effects.

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Ouiry Sanou zum Verhalten der Parteien im aktuellen Wahlkampf: „[…] sie [verhalten] sich wie eine Mutter, die ihre Kinder mit kleinen Marionetten amüsiert, es ist nur ein Spiel.“ | Photo: flickr, Carsten ten Brink | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“Es gibt wirklich keine Hoffnung oder Erwartungen der Jugend an diese Wahlen.”

Im zweiten Interview der Blogreihe zu den Wahlen in Burkina Faso haben Simone Schnabel und Antonia Witt mit Ouiry Sanou gesprochen. Ouiry Sanou ist langjähriger Aktivist und Generalsekretär der burkinischen Jugendorganisation „Organisation Démocratique de la Jeunesse du Burkina Faso” (ODJ), die sich der Einhaltung und dem Schutz demokratischer und sozialer Rechte von Jugendlichen in Burkina Faso verschreibt. Sie unterstützt außerdem die AnwohnerInnen in Bergbauregionen im Kampf um Land- und soziale Rechte.

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Ouiry Sanou on the behavior of the competing parties in context of the current election campaign: “[…] they act like a mother amusing her children with little puppets, it is just a game.” | Photo: flickr, Carsten ten Brink | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“There is Really No Hope or Expectations of the Youth for these Elections.”

In the second interview of the PRIF blog series on the elections in Burkina Faso, Simone Schnabel and Antonia Witt talked to Ouiry Sanou. Ouiry Sanou is a long-time activist and the secretary general of the Burkinabe youth organization “Organisation Démocratique de la Jeunesse du Burkina Faso” (ODJ), which is dedicated to respecting and protecting the democratic and social rights of young people in Burkina Faso. It also supports residents in mining regions in their struggle for land and social rights.

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Protesters of the #EndSARS movement stand in front of the statue of the Nigerian Nationalist and Statesman, Obafemi Awolowo. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons/TobiJamesCandids | CC BY-SA 4.0

#EndSars: How Social Media Challenges Governance – the Case of Nigeria

Reading #EndSars in 2020, one might assume the hashtag is trending to inform about the dreaded coronavirus related Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) disease which ravaged the world from 2003. But not in Nigeria. #EndSars refers to a Nigerian a protest movement against police brutality. Although protests have been on-going intermittently in recent years, they gained increased momentum over three weeks ago and have resulted in violence and deaths in the last week. The #EndSars movement, started as a Security Sector Reform movement and has morphed into a cry for good governance in Nigeria.

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