Surfing the global protest wave

Economic inequality and social injustice have ignited a cycle of protests around the world as a new generation makes common cause to ensure their voice is being heard, writes Kevin Gillan

The World Today Updated 30 July 2021 Published 1 August 2021 5 minute READ

Kevin Gillan

Lecturer in sociology at the University of Manchester and Consulting Editor on the journal, Social Movement Studies

On May 14, 2021, the body of Thabani Nkomonye was found in a field in the southern African kingdom of Eswatini, formerly Swaziland, by his mother. His eyes had been gouged out, and there were three holes in his torso, she said.

Suspicions that the 25-year-old student had been tortured and killed by police led students to organize protests demanding an end to police brutality and calling for multiparty democracy. The protests continued through June and into July, and were met by tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition.

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