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comte

JF-Expert Member
Dec 11, 2011
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Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) provides that while a majority of the events analysed did not feature contestation by competing sides, roughly 7 per cent involved some sort of interaction. The police or military were deployed in 5 per cent of events, a substantial number at 630. Typically, state force was used during sustained protest episodes, especially when protests turned into riots. The evidence suggests that peaceful protests sometimes turned into riots when they faced either counter-protests aligned with the government in power (602 events) or violence from the state.

Police or military were deployed during 309 of the 1,030 riot events analysed. Many of these deployments occurred in clusters, when sustained protests challenged the state. For example, during Indonesia’s sustained fuel protests over President Joko Widodo’s decision to cut energy subsidies, police forces engaged with rioters 20 times in a three-week period. Haitian police forces engaged with rioters 40 times between late August and mid-October. Rioters, decrying persistent insecurity, denouncing rising costs, and demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, threw stones at police while also vandalising and looting stores. In response, the police frequently used tear gas to disperse crowds and, in one instance, reportedly shot and injured several civilians. In other cases, police were deemed inadequate, resulting in military deployment. While used less frequently than the police, military forces interacted with rioters in Ecuador, Iran, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Mauritania and France. The Ecuadorian military was deployed the most frequently of all the cases analysed, engaging with rioters 13 times in June 2022. In one instance, a military convoy carrying fuel was attacked by rioters, resulting in the death of a soldier.

Tear gas use was the most common tactic used by police and military to disperse crowds, with the term appearing frequently in the ACLED data. However, state forces also used lethal force, as in the aforementioned Haitian case. One of the deadliest episodes occurred when Sierra Leonian state police opening fire on protesters and rioters, resulting in a reported 21 deaths (the final figures vary). Protesting the cost of living was dangerous in 2022: in 135 events, civilians were injured or killed, with the ACLED data recording 105 fatalities as a result of these protests.

ACLED data provides that of the 12,500 protests overall, the vast majority were peaceful events, which may have achieved little more than alerting the authorities to the extent and causes of broad public discontent. This broader expression of public discontent is likely to have had a range of different political consequences, which evidently merit closer analysis.
 
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