Civil unrest has doubled worldwide in the past decade as protests rage over economic hardship, political turmoil and police brutality, according to the Global Peace Index (GPI), Chris Baynes wrote for the Independent on June 10, 2020.  

Tensions are likely to increase in the coming months and years as the COVID-19 pandemic pushes more people into unemployment and widens inequality, warned the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), which publishes the report annually. The IEP said COVID-19 posed a threat to peace worldwide and had “the potential to undo years of socio-economic development, exacerbate humanitarian crises and aggravate and encourage unrest and conflict”.

The 2020 GPI recorded violent protest in 58% of countries last year, an increase which researchers noted “reflects a longer-term trend.” Riots were up 282% last year compared to 2011, while general strikes rose 821%. Europe saw the most protests and strikes, although only about one-third were recorded as violent, the lowest proportion in the world.

The index identified South America as suffering the largest deterioration in peacefulness during 2019 due to growing militarization and worsening security in nations such Brazil, Chile and Ecuador, where police have violently suppressed demonstrations. However, the Middle East and North Africa remains the least peaceful region.