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Are the protests really useful to weaken the government and to make the population feel heard?
Several protests are being held in different parts of the world. On one hand, there are the 'yellow vests' in France, on the other the students in Colombia and the Costa Ricans, who had been protesting the controversial tax law for more than 3 months.
Leer en español: Protestas: ¿debilitan los gobiernos?
In all these manifestations, and as is to be expected, there is a political struggle, in which the opposition of the government finds the opportunity to encourage society and further root discontent against the administration. But can it be said that the protests are a channel to further weaken and foment anger against the government? Let's see the mentioned cases.
France and the 'yellow vests'
After the massive protests in France, and led by the 'yellow vests', both the extreme right of that country, as the left, have found an opportunity to fuel more dissatisfaction with the current president, Emmanuel Macron.
The protests, which were originated through Facebook, were aimed at reclaiming the increase in fuel, the increase and imposition of some taxes. However, the protests were adding up claims for education and reducing the overtime rate, among others.
Thus, every Saturday, since November 17, the French have taken to the streets to protest, which has left nine dead, more than 1,200 people arrested and dozens of buildings, streets and cars destroyed, in addition to serious clashes with the authorities .
In this scenario of demonstrations, both the left and the extreme right have spoken out and have taken advantage to make politicking. Being the first one the most benefited. For example, the National Grouping party, led by Marine Le Pen, has an intention to vote of 24%, according to a survey conducted by IFOP for the French media L'Opinion. In another poll, but for Le Journal du Dimanche, if the elections were soon Le Pen would have two points ahead of the current president Macron.
While it is important to note that the popularity of Macron has always been low, the fact that his former opponent for the presidency has a greater intention to vote, to glimpse the dissatisfaction of the people. So much so, that they have baptized him "the president for the rich". It took a couple of weeks for the president to retract the implementation of the fuel tax, in addition to begging for the demonstrations to stop. Yellow Vests 1 - Emmanuel Macron 0
You may be interested in reading: France: protests invade the country
Colombia and the students
In Colombia, around 13 demonstrations were carried out by the students, who demanded a greater increase in the budget of public education. Throughout the marches, there were riots, injuries, and violations of human rights. The most renowned case is the student Esteban Mosquera who lost an eye product of the impact of a stun bomb.
Faced with this, the government of Duque was very criticized because, while the students marched, the president met with people from the entertainment world, like singers Maluma and Carlos Vives. Thus, the days and marches continued to pass until the president agreed to increase the budget by 6.2 billion more.
Due to their lack of interest and lack of commitment, the Colombians disapproved his attitude. Faced with this, one of the main opponents of the current government, Gustavo Petro, stated on his twitter that:
El problema del mal gusto musical. Reciben a los que no saben de música en Palacio y a los que si saben y la estudian le dañan los ojos.— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) 15 de diciembre de 2018
In the Colombian case, the political situation is very divided. The clear lack of an opposition leader is necessary to move the people. Despite the above, Colombians are still not satisfied with their performance. Thus, the Gallup polling firm revealed that Duque has a level of disapproval of 64%, taking into account the concern about levels of corruption and the recent Law on Financing.
Are the protests a channel to weaken and further foment anger against the government?
Considering the above, I would dare to say that the protests are indeed a channel to further foment anger against the government. They are the default expression of disgust in the face of injustice. They are "the straw that overflowed the glass". The last letter that the inhabitants of a country use to make themselves heard and face a series of irregularities.
They weaken the government in two ways. One, like the French case, where the opposition takes advantage of power to encourage the demonstrators and give him the reason, that everything the current government is doing is bad, and then take advantage and raise power. But the fact that the opposition is on the heels of the current government is undoubtedly a symbol of weakening.
The second way is through the people. When the people demand and do not tire the fighting for nonconformities and irregularities, it weakens the government. The fact that a government gives in to its people is already an important step. What should always be like that? Yes, of course, but we are in a moment where politicians invent how many excuses they have for not listening to the people.
LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz
Translated from "Protestas: ¿debilitan los gobiernos?"