London has just passed three nights of rioting by hundreds of people in major cities. England and other countries are experiencing turmoil combined with worldwide economic uncertainty and stock market weakness.
There are many examples of how economic ills are bringing protests and strife in line with the model of the “Arab Spring Uprising.”
In England, violence was triggered by the death of Mark Duggan who had been killed by police, however, discontent has been brewing for a long time. In late June, 50% of the English government schools were closed by intense protests over public worker pension cuts. Three teachers’ unions, customs and immigration workers, and air traffic controllers went on strike with 750,000 protestors taking to the streets. Discontent has been growing for years among Britain’s poor and the English government has been heavily criticized for cutting funds to social programs to reduce the debt. The social program cuts have hit the youth who are now rioting.
- Spain, Portugal and Greece saw a variety of riots, massive protests and strikes due to government budget cuts and unemployment.
- In the Philippines, thousands of people demonstrated for the government to protect their jobs and for better wages.
- In China, thousands of people fought police for three days to protest declining living standards. Also almost 1,000 taxi drivers blocked traffic in Eastern China on August 1.
- In Syria, people have been protesting and rioting for both economic and political reforms over the last 5 months. So far, 1,600 people have been killed by government forces.
So far in the United States there have been no riots or major protests. However, with an unemployment rate of 9% and a discouraged workers rate of about 7% we are approaching 16% of the population with no income. Add to that the increased prices of basic necessities and America may eventually have its own Arab Spring Uprisings.