Posts Tagged

violence

Italy was the first Western democracy to impose a country-wide lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite successfully curbing the number of infections in the first half of 2020, Italy saw its cases increase again in October, prompting Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and local governments to announce new restrictions to curb the cresting second wave. Despite the clear memory of the significant death toll and warnings of the dangerous winter to come, however, these announcements have been met with opposition. On the evening of the 23rd October, thousands gathered in the streets of Naples to protest against the forced closure of shops and restaurants and the threat of a local lockdown. A group of about 300 people—including youth, extremist political groups, and football hooligans—escalated into a violent protest, attacking police officers, burning cars, and vandalizing private …

Zbigniew Brzezinski noted that the politics of fear is an efficient means of control because it “obscures reason and intensifies emotions.” After more than 34 years in power, President Museveni of Uganda—who toppled Milton Obote’s regime in 1986 after years in the bush with the National Resistance Movement (NRM)—understood the politics of fear better than anyone else. If one still had doubts, the death of around 40 people in Kampala at a political rally organized by Bobi Wine, Museveni’s main opponent, in November came to confirm one thing: it is election season in Uganda. On 14 January 2021, Ugandans will go to the polls. Museveni will most likely win re-election, after having scrapped the presidential term and age limits in 2005 and 2017 respectively. However, this piece argues that the intense politics of fear used by his regime can be interpreted as the possible end of post-liberation politics in Uganda.   Post-liberation …

In 2016, Uganda’s Presidential election was met with a surge in violence. More than 20 people reportedly died and even more were threatened and beaten in the lead-up to the election. Current Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled the country since 1986, captured another term in office through a strategy that relied on intimidation tactics. Voters throughout the country were told that their regions would not receive aid support if they did not vote for Museveni, leading EU and U.S. election monitors to deem that there was “an atmosphere of intimidation” that was “deeply inconsistent with international standards.” In the lead-up to next year’s election, there are again fears of an illegitimate democratic process. Namely, increasing internet suppression may mar the  outcome of the …

As protests in Hong Kong have become more violent, have the demographics of the protesters changed? Political scientists have argued that a shift toward more violent protest action can alienate moderate protesters. Moderates, in this definition, are those who may share common cause with radicals (or those who embrace violent tactics) but reject those tactics. Once alienated, such moderate protesters tend to withdraw their support from a movement and may refrain from participating in protest action in the future. Hong Kong’s protests seem to have defied this trend. My surveys of protest participants find that the demographic profile of protesters has remained relatively constant even as violence has escalated in the demonstrations. Certain types of protesters who might be expected …

Anette Idler summarizes some of the findings from her new book Borderland Battles, which reveals how violent non-state groups compete for territorial control, co-operate in illicit cross-border activities and replace the state in exerting governance functions in borderlands. Borderlands are like a magnifying glass on some of the most entrenched security challenges of the world. In unstable regions, border areas attract violent non-state groups ranging from rebels and paramilitaries to criminal organisations who exploit their neglect by central governments. These groups compete for territorial control, cooperate in illicit cross-border activities, and substitute for the governance functions usually associated with the state. Studying the Colombian borderlands where armed conflict and organised crime converge demonstrates that the gap between state-centric views on …

Mexico’s new national guard has been in the news recently because it plays a critical role stemming the flow of Central American migrants. However, it remains “a work in progress,” and has been the subject of severe criticism since its inception. Despite making promises to demilitarize Mexico during his campaign, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is going forward with continuing to rely on militarized public security under a different name. The Plan Nacional de Paz y Seguridad 2018-2024 – his plan to bring about ‘peace and security,’ entails the creation of a Guardia Nacional (national guard). Of course, improving public security is of vital importance, because the security situation in Mexico is dire: Last year set a new record for …

Inaction in politics can be comfortable. Politicians might opt for hand wringing to avoid confronting the consequences of their actions, or, in the worst-case, to hide their own complicity. Mexico´s new administration has been in the headlines recently for doing just the opposite: On December 27th of last year, president Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that his government would confront the large-scale theft of fuel that affects Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX). Since then, there have been widespread news of lines and fuel shortages. The situation escalated further on January 18 with the horrific news of 73 people killed and another 76 gravely injured from the explosion of a fuel pipeline in the state of Hidalgo. Mexico´s New Black Market What the …

The 2019 presidential election will mark a defining moment in Nigeria’s hectic political history. Tensions are rising ahead of the elections in February when the polls will mark the first contest after an opposition leader defeated an incumbent president since the return to civilian rule in 1999. In the 2015 election, the All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated then-President Goodluck Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Today, APC faces the prospect of electoral defeat just four years after it came into power. Neither President Muhammadu Buhari, nor any of the likely main opposition candidates, has a clear support base. In the lead-up to Nigerians heading to the polls in early 2019, the deteriorating security situation of Africa’s largest economy is particularly worrying. …