Protests Seen Through the Lens of Instagram

Political change has been happening rapidly over the last 50 years and social media has been a growing way to document it. Using social media, protesters have shown that 2014 was a passionate year for people all over the world fighting for justice, peace, democracy, and equality. Here are some of the ongoing revolutions seen around the world as seen through the lens of Instagram.

Political Freedom Protests in Hong Kong

Hear us roar. #OccupyHongKong #umhk #OccupyCentral #UmbrellaMovement #OccupyHK

A photo posted by Rach Read (@rachttlg) on

The “Umbrella Revolution” is the name given to the ongoing protest happening in Hong Kong. Led by Hong Kong University law professor, Benny Tai, the sit-ins began late September and immediately grew into a huge crowd after police started to attack the peaceful protesters. Students began protesting for more political freedom and have been using umbrellas to shield themselves from the pepper spray the police has been using to control the crowd. The umbrellas became a symbol of the movement and ultimately gave the name to the revolution.


Police Brutality Protests in United States

The Grand Jury’s decision regarding the Michael Brown case has sparked protests all over United States. Huge protests turned into riots in Ferguson, MO a suburb of St. Louis once the verdict was handed down that the officer who killed Brown was found not guilty and wouldn’t stand trial. Similar protests rose all over the country in solidarity of the ruling and the desire to end unnecessary police brutality. Fuel was added to the fire when a similar decision was handed down regarding the murder of Eric Garner, who also died at the hands of a police officer. One of the most interesting incidences saw protesters blocking a major highway in Berkley, California.


Taxation Protests in Ireland

The revolution will not be televised #irishwater

A photo posted by Joe Breaker (@joebreaker) on

Recently, Ireland’s government proposed an outrageously high tax on water usage in homes. The government intended on using these taxes to pay back international loans and invest in a new water system for the country. To protest, over 30,000 people took their unheard voices to the street.


Anti-Government Protests Venezuela

The citizens of Venezuela began protesting in February over their lack of basic needs, in particular security. Venezuela has the fifth highest murder rate in the world and crime is rife in many urban centers. Over 6000 protests have occurred all over the country and many have turned violent; about 43 deaths have also been reported so far.


Protests Against Political Leaders in Ukraine

#euromaidan #ukraineprotest ##ukraine #майдан

A photo posted by ddanisimov (@ddanisimov) on

The 2004 Orange Revolution sought to better Ukraine’s political and socio-economic conditions however the good days were short lived as a large portion of the new constitution never got implemented. The citizens also grew tired of their leader’s, President Viktor Yanukovych, unpopular decisions – particularly signing a treaty with Russia – and the corruption within the government. Known as Euromaidan, the protests began in November of 2013 and ended in February of 2014. The protestors often ended in police brutality but eventually succeeded in throwing the president out of the office and establishing a new government.


Pro-Russian Protests in Ukraine

The general anti-Russian sentiment of the Ukrainians unfortunately greatly affected the citizens of Russian descent since a great portion of Ukraine is inhabited by them. The result was the protest from pro-Russian supporters which eventually led to Crimea’s (a very heavily populated Russian community) annexation to the Russian Federation.


Protests at Jadavpur University in India

#hokkolorob #jadavpuruniversity #kolkata #rally #20thseptember #walk #protest #share #sackvc

A photo posted by Chitrak Shaw (@chitraks04) on

Seeking justice for a fellow student who fell victim to molestation, students of Jadavpur University held a peaceful sit-in. However, police attacked the students and it soon turned violent, which led to police brutality and a long series of (ongoing) protests also. Various Universities from all over the country have shown support to the protestors and have held demonstration seeking a change in society’s views on rape and unjustified police behavior. The hashtag #HokKolorob, meaning “let there be noise”, became synonymous with the protest.


The Azadi March in Pakistan

awesome #Jalsa at #Multan today #PTI #AzadiMarchPTI

A photo posted by BaByCoOl (@haroonrasheed7) on

India’s neighbor to the west, Pakistan, is also partaking in a revolution in the form of Azadi (meaning freedom) March. The protest was assembled because of the alleged election fraud that occurred a year prior. The supporters of the cause are seeking investigation into the allegations and if found guilty, demand the resignation of the current prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the abolition of the government in place of a new one. Millions of people have gathered in various events of the march showing their support for the cause.


Romanian Unrest

#roșiamontană #unițisalvăm

A photo posted by Delia Opran (@interstellarbarbarella) on

The unrest in Romania is an ongoing conflict that began in 2012. The protests began because of the horrendous social conditions of the Romanian people. Some of the issues faced are: a high unemployment rate, high taxes, government corruption, low standards of living, and environment protection (especially the Roșia Montană Project; a project regarding mining gold and silver). The protests have been successful as many government officials have been forced to step down. The protests are however still ongoing and many changes are yet to be seen.


The Fight for Kobanî

When ISIS found its way to the town of Kobanî, many people began to flee north towards Turkey. Seeing the town needed soldiers, volunteers and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants from Turkey wanted to go help fight however they were stopped from exiting the country. The Turkish government had made no effort to help Kobanî and the act represented a quiet approval of the inhumane events happening and a support of ISIS. Kurdish people (Kurds are an ethnic group whose followers heavily inhabit Syria) in support of Kobanî took the protests to the streets; these protests were ill received by the Turkish police as they replied back with water cannons and tear gas in which over 30 people have been killed. This is an ongoing even that is still has the worth holding their breath.


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