Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Indian students and activists participate in a protest against two recent rapes in New Delhi, India, April 12, 2018. Placard in Hindi reads, "Women have only one demand, the society should be violence free."
Altaf Qadri/AP

8 Demonstrations and Protests That Changed the World In 2018

Around the world, 2018 has been an intense year for mass mobilization and social change.

Iranian protesters in dozens of cities rang in the New Year by gathering to challenge their government’s economic policies and speak out against political suppression. Less than a month later, feminists across the globe took part in the second annual Women’s March, and since then demonstrations have sprung up in Honduras, Tunisia, Romania, Italy, the United States, Venezuela, and countless other countries demanding everything from political reform to gun control.

Take Action: Call on Your Leaders to #StoptheCuts Before They Happen and Protect Foreign Aid

In many places, protesting is risky business. It can mean jail time, political and economic blacklisting, or worse. But citizens all over the world, especially young people, are taking to the streets to demand change. Here are just eight of the many movements that are changing the world right now.

1. India

India-Rape-Protest-3.jpgA participant has the words "not in my name" painted on face during a protest against two recently reported rape cases as protestors gather near the Parliament in New Delhi, India, April 15, 2018.
Image: Oinam Anand/AP

Thousands have taken to the streets across India this month to protest against an ongoing sexual assault epidemic.

The most recent wave of protests occurred in reaction to the alleged gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl by eight Hindu men and the rape of a 16-year-old girl. Despite increasingly tough laws, child rapes in India increased by 82% in 2016.

Read More: Protests Erupt in India After Two Girls Are Raped

2. Palestine

Gaza-Israel-Protests.jpgA Palestinian protester hurls stones at Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, April 20, 2018.
Image: Khalil Hamra/AP

Israeli snipers have killed 40 Palestinians, and 1,700 more have been injured by gunfire, rubber bullets, and tear gas during the recent protests in the Gaza strip.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians have gathered along the Israel-Gaza border to participate in the “March of Return” — a six week-long protest to signify the aspiration of Palestinian return to occupied lands.

Though the protests have signaled a renewed interest in mass non-militarized political action among Gazans, Israeli government officials have sought to justify the use of live ammunition that has killed teenagers and journalists and has left countless Palestinians with crippling injuries.

3. Armenia

Embed from Getty Images

Demonstrations are continuing in Armenia a week after anti-government protests forced the resignation of the country’s longtime president. Though the Armenian government’s future remains in question, citizens have made it clear that they no longer plan to tolerate the corruption or authoritarianism that has plagued their country’s politics since the dismantling of the Soviet Union.

4. Spain

Spain-Sexual-Violence-Protests-Full-Frame.jpgPeople lift up their arms as the shout slogans during a protest outside the Justice Ministry in Madrid, April 26, 2018.
Image: Francisco Seco/AP

Over the weekend, demonstrations erupted in cities across Spain as five men accused of gang raping an 18-year-old woman at the annual running of the bulls festival were convicted of “continuous sexual abuse,” a much lesser charge than rape.

A spokesperson said that the Spanish government is reviewing whether the law on sexual crimes "needs to be updated.” The outrage surrounding the case has been likened to a Spanish #MeToo movement.

Read More: Thousands Protested in Spain After 5 Men Were Cleared of Gang Rape

5. Nicaragua

AP_18110712917162.jpgImage: AP Photo/Alfredo Zuniga

Young people in Nicaragua are digging in for the long haul as they burn vehicles, barricade intersections, and stage demonstrations against authoritarian rule in their country.

What began as protests against social security reforms has evolved into calls for the ouster of the president, Daniel Ortega, who has been leader of Nicaragua for 20 of the past 40 years.

Though he was a revered leader during the revolutionary Sandinista movement in the 1960s and 70s, protesters now argue that Ortega’s censorship policies and the recent killing of protesters and journalists mean that he has to go.

Read More: 3 Things to Know About the Protests Taking Over Nicaragua

6. Thailand

More than 1,000 people gathered in the northern city of Chiang Mai, Thailand over the weekend to protest the construction of a housing project for judges and government officials in the foothills of a sacred mountain. According to the BBC, it was one of the country’s largest demonstrations since 2014, when the military seized control of the Thai government.

7. Mexico

Embed from Getty Images

Thousands gathered in the Mexican city of Guadalajara last week to demand justice for three film students who were recently murdered — their bodies dissolved in acid — allegedly by a drug cartel.

The case highlights the ongoing problem of youth disappearances in Mexico’s drug war, the climax of which was the kidnapping of 43 students at the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college in Guerrero in 2014.

According to Voice of America, 15,516 people between the ages of 13 and 29 are officially listed as missing in Mexico.

8. Russia

Embed from Getty Images

In Moscow Monday, thousands of Russians gathered after a court ruled that the state media regulator was allowed to block the popular messaging service, Telegram, in the country. Protesters held signs, chanted, and threw paper airplanes, the symbol of Telegram, to demand that their internet remain free from government cencorship.

The demonstration quickly turned into an anti-Vladimir Putin rally, with speakers like anti-corruption activist and former opposition presidential candidate Aleksei Navalny leading chants of “Down with the Czar!” according to the New York Times. Activists have called another protest, this one nationwide, for May 5 to protest Putin’s fourth presidential inauguration.

Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations’ Global Goals, which call for peaceful and transparent governance. You can take action on this issue here.