Europe

In early December of 2019, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Madrid, Spain as the Spanish city hosted climate negotiations for the UN. The Climate Change Conference, COP25, was originally scheduled to take place in Santiago, Chile, but was moved to Madrid as a result of the massive protests taking place in Chile. Protestors in Madrid, along with thousands of Chileans in Santiago, called for more ambitious climate change policy to be put into place worldwide.

Greta Thunberg was, of course, in attendance. A concert was also held near to Nuevos Ministerios, a government complex in the city center that added to the festive air and harnessed the power of music to our cause. Organizers say around 500,000 people took part in the demonstrations. Officials did not provide a figure.

Previously in 2019, strikes had been organized in a variety of countries from Africa to South America. The epi-center was Europe. Mass strikes took place on 17 and 18 January 2019, when at least 45000 students protested against insufficient action against climate change in Switzerland and Germany alone. In Germany, regional groups were organized, communicating autonomously within WhatsApp groups and spreading their messages using flyers and social media. By February 2019, the organization could count on some 155 local groups.

The Belgian environment minister for Flanders, Joke Schauvliege was forced to resign on 5 February 2019 for falsely claiming the state security agency had evidence that the school strikes in Belgium were a "set‑up". In the UK, on 13 February 2019, following open letters in support of Extinction Rebellion in 2018, 224 academics signed an open letter giving their "full support to the students" attending the School Strike for Climate action. On Friday 15 February, more than 60 actions in towns and cities within the United Kingdom took place, with an estimated 15000 strikers participating.

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Protest2020! 2020 is the year of protest, ushered in on the heels of 2019, which saw numerous social explosions in the last few months of the year. Climate change, in particular, is feeding a well-founded sense of fear, particularly among the vulnerable and their activist allies whose lives and futures are highly precarious. In fact, all of us are vulnerable, and awareness is growing of the way in which we are all in this together. While in most places, most notably Hong Kong, protests have turned violent and thousands of arrests have been made, there have not yet been large numbers of fatalities, although dozens of protestors have died and continue to die in South America. In other parts of the world, most notably the Middle East – home to warfare for decades – particularly in Iraq and its neighbor and former enemy Iran, hundreds of protestors have been killed with live, military-grade ammunition. After 5 years of civil war in Syria, protest has given way to military action hand in hand with death and destruction. The numbers of people murdered by the governments of the region are not fully known, and especially hard to verify in Iran, where a brutal religious dictatorship maintains a thick cloak of secrecy over such information.

Iran and its allies in Iraq are now moving precipitously towards war with the United States, in part because the mentally ill president of that country needs to wage war in order to win reelection. Large parts of the world that are the most vulnerable to the ravages of climate change are already suffering; places like the Philippines are experiencing devastating and lethal storms, one after the other, breaking all historical records.

Much of Australia has been on fire for months as we ring in 2020, accompanied by the hottest temperatures on record. This is changing Australian lives, politics, and the consciousness of the ordinary Australian who is now getting involved in the struggle to save their island, and coming to a better understanding of how their survival is linked to the rest of the world. In Japan, forces are growing in protest to push the Japanese government towards support for the Hong Kong protestors, confronting mainland China; also supporting the struggles of minority groups in mainland China, reporting on government abuses, etc. The US government has expressed its full support for the Hong Kong protestors, further escalating tensions between these two superpowers along with ally Russia. These tensions were already at their most aggravated moments as a result of the US/China trade war.

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To make matters still worse, especially for SE Asia, the North Korean dictator is threatening the use of a new strategic weapon. Our world on the arrival of 2020 is a tinderbox as never before. The 2020 presidential elections in the USA will be the single greatest determining factor for the survival of the planet. Given that the current president preaches a doctrine of conflict and confrontation rather than collaboration, and denies that climate change is even exacerbated by man-made actions, if he is re-elected, there will be little hope for our world in the short term.

Here at Protest2020.com, we invite you to protest, share your views, and help us all to march towards a more sustainable and peaceful world that will not totally implode, at least within our lifetimes, leaving hope for life to continue in more intelligent forms, better appreciating our planetary home. We ultimately seek harmony with nature so as to preserve life as we know it, as we dream it could be. Everything depends on how hard we are willing to fight to make it so.

 

Let’s get arrested, the more the merrier!

Protest2020!

drrobertedinger@gmail.com

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