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CWA # 440, 11 March 2021

Conflict Weekly 61
Women’s Day, Swiss Referendum, Myanmar Violence, George Floyd Trial and Lebanon Protests

  IPRI Team

IPRI Conflict Weekly #61, 11 March 2021, Vol.2, No.10

Abigail Miriam Fernandez, Harini Madhusudan, Aparupa Bhattacherjee, D Suba Chandran and Apoorva Sudhakar


 
International Women’s Day: Women across the world #ChooseToChallenge
In the news
On 8 March, the world commemorated International Women’s Day, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women while calling for action for accelerating gender parity. The campaign theme for International Women's Day 2021 was ‘Choose To Challenge.’ The theme explains a challenging world as an alert world, as a society one can choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality as well as choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Thus, collectively helping to create an inclusive world. The theme highlights that from challenge comes change, thereby urging society to #ChooseToChallenge.

The United Nations Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, marking the day, said, “We need women’s representation that reflects all women and girls in all their diversity and abilities and across all cultural, social, economic and political situations. This is the only way we will get real societal change that incorporates women in decision-making as equals and benefits us all.”

Issues at large
First, different regions call on different demands. From Mexico to Japan demonstrations and events were staged to mark the day. Across Latin America, women rallied for an end to violence and femicide; they also demanded greater rights. Across Europe, women demonstrated under the motto: ‘In the face of social emergency, feminism is essential,’ and voiced concerns over domestic violence. In South Asia, women marched demanding an end to patriarchy, toxic masculinity, and gender-based violence. Across East Asia, women marched in defiance of power-grabbing generals and patriarchal governments and called for gender equality, justice and improved welfare for women.

Second, the struggle against patriarchy continues. Although women have come a long way breaking past the glass ceiling and other social barriers, patriarchy and its various strains continue to remain a challenge. An indicator of this is the representation of women in leadership roles. According to the United Nations, only three countries in the world have 50 per cent or more women in parliament. Women are Heads of State in only 22 nations. Globally 119 countries have never had a woman leader as a Head of State. The UN adds that at the current rate of progress, gender parity will not be reached in parliaments before 2063 and gender parity for Heads of State will not happen till the year 2150.

Third, the surge in violence against women. According to the World Health Organisation, globally one in three women experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime, mostly by an intimate partner, a stark reminder of the scale of gender inequality and discrimination against women. In 2019, according to the UN Women, 243 million women and girls aged 15-49 have been subjected to sexual and/or physical violence perpetrated by an intimate partner. Emerging data show that violence against women and girls has intensified since the outbreak of COVID-19. Violence against women and girls is pervasive but at the same time widely under-reported. Less than 40 per cent of women who experience violence report these crimes or seek help of any sort.

Fourth, the disproportion between awareness and effect. Although there has been a rise of awareness concerning women’s rights, the disproportion between the letter and the spirit remains. Moving from awareness to action continues to be a challenging task, with multiple barriers from societal restrictions to institutional bias restricting the progress. 

In perspective 
As the world celebrated International Women’s Day, it is important to reflect on the numerous achievements of women and the progress made thus far. However, the fight is not over yet; taking a cue from the generations that have passed, the present generation must begin to sensitise the importance of women’s right and help create an environment where women can thrive rather than struggle.

Society and governments need to prioritize women’s right by prevention and redress issues such as violence, discrimination and hate against women and girls. Finally, tearing down the patriarchy, as pessimist as it sounds, is next to impossible. However, what women can do is unite and lift each other when most things standing in front of them are set to bring them down.
 


Switzerland: Referendum calls for ban on face coverings in public 
In the news 
On 8 March, Switzerland voted narrowly in favour of a ban on face coverings in public. The referendum was passed by 51.2 per cent in favour of the ban on face-coverings. The proposal to ban was put forward and campaigned by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) with slogans like “Stop Extremism! Yes to the veil ban.” Formally, there was no mention of ‘Islam’ in the campaign and the referendum was essentially promoted as an attempt that is aimed at stopping violent street protesters from using face coverings. However, the voting process is widely being referred to as the burqa ban. As a response to it, a leading Swiss Islamic group said it was “a dark day” for Muslims in Switzerland.

Issues at large
First, the narrow vote and Islam in Switzerland. About five per cent of Switzerland's population of 8.6 million people are Muslim, most originating from Turkey, Bosnia, and Kosovo. Switzerland in 2013, had considered a ban because the Swiss Justice Minister said that the veils made her uncomfortable; 65 per cent of the electorate voted in favour to ban face veils in public areas. Hence the 2021 decision opens old wounds. The narrow win between 51.2 per cent against 48.8 per cent further expands the principle of legal inequality and the stark divide among society. The Swiss parliament has been mildly sceptical in passing the referendum and is seen looking at alternatives to accommodate the use of face veils. The tourism industry alliance too has announced that they do not encourage the ban.

Second, the larger debate in Europe. Many countries across Europe have, in the past, debated and put into force a ban/ partial ban on the usage of head scarfs or religious symbols in public spaces. To name a few, Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Russia, Bulgaria all have legislations related to face-covering in their own countries. The ban on face coverings thus brings up the debate of multiculturalism in Europe on the pretext of public anxiety over the influx of migrants, the debate pours into discussions on religious freedoms, secular traditions as against extremism, or terrorism. France stands as the closest example of the same, it banned face veils in 2011.

Third, the growing right-wing politics. The recent years have seen substantial growth in popular sentiments against particular communities within the European Society. While some politicians argue for the need for greater assimilation, the issue generally plays out as a strong point in the mandates of right-wing/ populist political leaders. People of Switzerland are regularly invited to vote on various issues in national or regional referendums. Ahead of the vote, the chairman of the referendum committee and an SVP lawmaker described Muslim face coverings as “a symbol for this extreme, political Islam which has become increasingly prominent in Europe and which has no place in Switzerland.” So, the motivation behind the campaign could necessarily have been targeted towards the practices of one community.  

In perspective 
Policies like these set dangerous long-term trends within societies and the wearing of veils in public have been an increasingly controversial topic in European countries. The choice to not use the word Islam in the referendum has been an interesting move by the campaigners. Switzerland follows France in taking popular measures on the role of religious practices in public lives. The small margin of the results of the referendum, however, stands as the highlight of this initiative.
 


Myanmar: The protests and the violence both escalates
In the news
On 7 March, a massive number of protestors joined the ‘general strike’ despite the night raids and detention of more than 41 people on 6 March.  18 labour organisations participated in the protest and called for the closing of shops, banks and factories. The military retaliated by an open fire and tear gas, have killed three and injured many. On 7 March, the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper printed an announcement threatening “action” against anyone who directly or indirectly works for the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH). It mentioned the committee to be illegal and had committed “high treason”.  On 8 March, the Ministry of Information has revoked the publishing licence for 7Days News, Myanmar Now, Mizzima, DVB and Khit Thit Media. Apart from 7Days News the rest of the four newspapers have announced to continue their work independently.

On 8 March, the Chief Minister of Mizoram in India announced that his State will support the Myanmarese refugees with food and shelter. Since the end of February, several have escaped to the neighbouring countries of India and Thailand. To date, there are more than fifty refugees including eight police officials in the north-eastern states of India. Similarly, on 9 March, Thailand extended its support to the refugees who have escaped the crackdown.
 
Issues at large
First, fear becomes the tool for this government to sustain itself. Since the coup, on 1 February, the surge in violence has not assisted the government to control the protests all across the country. This government may have enforced itself, but is yet to gain legitimacy among the citizens and several sections of the international arena. The growing civil disobedience movement and the success of the general strikes despite the rampant violence make it evident. Several diplomats appointed by the government have resigned in defiance and all the NGOs across the countries have also refused to collaborate with the government. 

Second, the protests continue to gain momentum, even after a month of their inception. The ‘fear’ seems to not work and instead works as a catalyst for the protests. To date more than 60 people have been killed, more than thousands have been detained and two deaths have been recorded in detention. But these facts have not deterred the protestors, which has not only continued but have increased its dimension. On 7 March, unlike the previous weeks, most of the deaths happened not in Yangon or Mandalay but happened in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State. According to the Irrawaddy, more than 60 Police officers have joined the civil disobedience movement from all across the country except for the Rakhine state.

Third, history repeats itself, several escapes to the neighbouring countries. Similar to the 1988 and 2007 protests, the violent crackdown has forced several to escape to India and Thailand. In both countries, the shared ethnic linkages with the people have garnered sympathy and support for those who have sought refuge. The growing clampdown on the journalists and media houses may force them to shift their base to these countries as done previously before 2015.
 
In perspective
First, currently, the protests seem to escalate parallel to the violence. But given the atrocities the unilinear growth of the protests or the ‘spring revolution’ (as it has been renamed) in the coming months is questionable. As of now, violence acts as a trigger but the continuation of the same is doubtful.

Second, in the coming months, the growing refugee influx from Myanmar is going to be a chronic problem not only for India and Thailand but for the entire region. The number is going to increase rather than diminish in the coming years.  
 


The US: The George Floyd Trial begins
In the news
On 8 March, the George Floyd trial officially referred to as the trial of State of Minnesota v. Derek Chauvin began in a County District Court in Minneapolis. On the first day, the trial was postponed, with a question over whether the former police officer Chauvin should be charged with a third-degree murder charge in the case relating to the killing of George Floyd. On 10 March, the Minnesota Supreme Court has announced that it would not intervene in the trial, thus removing the potential delay to the trial.

On 9 March, three jurors were selected who would for the part of a 12 member jury that would look into the trial. On 10 March, two more jurors were selected. Judge Peter Cahill, who is overseeing the case, has planned to keep three weeks to finalise the selection of the jury.

Issues at large
First, the legal issue over what should Derek Chauvin be charged with. Chauvin the police officer who was responsible for the death of George Floyd last year has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Besides Chauvin, there were three more police officers with him at that time; they have been charged with abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. The third charge against Chauvin - with third-degree murder was dismissed by Judge Peter Cahill last year, for which an appeal was made at the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Second, selection of the jury for, what should be one of the most important trials during the recent years. According to the requirement, there should be 12 jurors for the trial, and selecting them according to a set procedure itself would be a challenge. Multiple questions have been posed to the potential jurors that would include their views on the Black Lives Matter movement, the number of times they had seen the video of the death of George Floyd, interaction with the law enforcement etc.

Third, the pressure on the trial. The supporters of the BLM consider that the trial needs no witness and the video itself is sufficient. They also consider the case as open and shut, and expect that Chauvin should be declared guilty with a maximum punishment. As the trial began on Monday, the BLM returned to the streets in Minneapolis; in the next few weeks, one should expect a larger street presence and public pressure.

Fourth, international attention. The trial would be watched at the global level. Last year, the BLM movement in the US also kicked off a series of similar movements across the world. Everyone would be watching the trial closely; For them, it is not only Derek Chauvin who is on trial.

In perspective
The issue is no more limited to justice to George Floyd, who was killed last year. His death has triggered a larger movement – the BLM, across the US and elsewhere in the rest of the world. Hence, the trial is not limited to an individual who got killed and holding a police officer accountable for the same. The trial is about social justice, racial equality, the role of institutions (then police, and now the judiciary), and American values. It is not Chauvin who is on trial; it is the US.
 


Lebanon: The revival of protests amid worsening economic conditions
In the news
On 9 March, National News Agency, a state-run organisation, reported that demonstrators protesting against the country’s deteriorating economic conditions had blocked main highways including that leading to the capital city, Beirut. The developments came despite the President’s calls to clear the roadblocks.

On 8 March, President Michel Aoun called on the army and security forces “to clear roadblocks after a week of protests over a collapsing economy and paralysed government.” However, the Army Chief, General Joseph Aoun, said, “The officer also is suffering and is hungry, to the officials I say, where are you going? What are you waiting for? What are you planning to do?” Therefore, he pushed the political leadership to find a long-lasting solution to the economic and political crisis.

On 6 March, the caretaker Prime Minister, Hasan Diab threatened to abstain from his duties thereby attempting to pressurise the political leaders to form a new government.
 
Issues at large
First, the crash of the Lebanese pound. On 2 March, the Lebanese pound hit a record low against the US dollar on the black market thereby being valued at 10,000 Lebanese pounds against the dollar. Further, the official exchange rate stood at 1,520 Lebanese pounds to the dollar. This acted as a trigger to the latest protests.

Second, the return of protests. The current unrest is the third occurrence of mass protests since 2019. The first mass protests of recent times started in October 2019 when the government proposed a tax on WhatsApp calls, threatening the people’s options to communicate freely without incurring heavy expenses on telephone calls. This triggered anti-government protests which later translated into a demand to overhaul the sectarian-based political system. Next, people took to the streets in August 2020 after the Beirut Port blast which left at least 200 people dead and thousands injured. However, in all cases, the protests remained leaderless.  

Third, worsening economic conditions. Amid economic deterioration and rising prices, the Lebanese have been struggling to secure essential commodities. The UN says, at least 50 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line. In March 2020, Lebanon defaulted on a loan of USD 1.2 billion. In December 2020, Diab said subsidies on flour, fuel and medication, would have to be lifted in early 2021 as foreign reserves are falling short.

Fourth, the political deadlock. The current Prime Minister-designate, Saad Hariri had resigned as PM in 2019 following the protests; Diab was appointed in January 2020. However, following the Beirut blast, Diab resigned and his successor Mustapha Adib resigned within a month. Following this, in October 2020, Hariri was re-elected as PM but has been unable to form a government due to differences with President Aoun.

In perspective
First, since protests in Lebanon have remained largely leaderless, it has been difficult to sustain them as support for the protests wane away with time, thereby pushing Lebanon into a status quo, be it political or economic. Therefore, the current protests too may take a backseat after some months. However, the Army Chief’s words come as a surprise being the first of its kind from a person of authority.  

Second, unless the political deadlock ends, it will be difficult to arrive at a solution to the country’s economic woes. The economic situation is bound to worsen in the coming months and its effects could last for years.
 


Also, from around the World
By Apoorva Sudhakar and Abigail Miriam Fernandez

Peace and Conflict from East and Southeast Asia
Thailand: Protesters demand the resignation of PM, and the release of political prisoners 
On 6 March, hundreds of people took to the streets of Bangkok protesting against the draconian lese majeste law “that shields the kingdom's powerful King Maha Vajiralongkorn and the royal family from defamation.” If found guilty under this law, the person can be awarded up to 15 years of imprisonment. The protesters demanded the release of several activists and leaders jailed under the law, and called for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, making the Constitution democratic and greater accountability from the monarchy.  
 
Hong Kong: China approves changes in electoral system, Carrie Lam welcomes decision 
On 11 March, China's National People's Congress approved a plan to change Hong Kong's electoral system in an attempt to ensure that the “city is governed by patriots.” With this, China now has powers to veto candidates running for elections in Hong Kong. Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's leader welcomed the move and reiterated "staunch support for and sincere gratitude to the passage of the decision on improving the electoral system."
 
North Korea: Economic sector officials take responsibility for the failure of previous development plans
On 9 March, The Korea Herald quoted North Korea’s official newspaper in which the department director of the North Korean Cabinet took responsibility for the lack of cooperation among major economic sectors. Similarly, other officials from the coal and thermal power industries criticised “themselves for making unrealistic decisions and carrying out their tasks as a formality.” Previously, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un had admitted to the failure of his development plans.
 
South Korea: Seoul and Washington reach agreement on sharing costs of US troop presence
On 8 March, the Foreign Ministry said South Korea and the US had reached an agreement in principle on sharing the cost of maintaining a US troop presence in the country. The US State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs said South Korea would have to bear a slightly higher amount but did not reveal any further details. The two countries are expected to sign the agreement shortly. Currently, the US has 28,000 troops stationed in South Korea as a measure against any potential aggression from North Korea.
 
Peace and Conflict from South Asia
Sri Lanka: Catholics mark ‘Black Sunday’ for Easter victims
On 7 March, the Catholic minorities in Sri Lanka held a ‘Black Sunday’ protest, demanding justice for victims of the 2019 Easter Sunday suicide bombings. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference organised the protest, following the presidential inquiry commission report on the bombings getting published in February 2021. The report has been shared with Catholic and Buddhist religious leaders and has also been sent to the Attorney General for legal action. At the protest, Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Ranith stated the government has time till 21 April to prosecute those responsible.
 
India: More than 150 Rohingya refugees deported to Myanmar
On 7 March, officials stated that the Indian police have detained more than 150 Rohingya refugees found living illegally in Jammu and Kashmir and begun deporting them to Myanmar. The officials stated, “The drive is part of an exercise to trace foreigners living in Jammu without valid documents.” Earlier on 6 March, hundreds of Rohingya including women and children were summoned by police as a part of a “verification” exercise while others were picked up during raids on camps on the outskirts of Jammu city.
 
India: Myanmar police officers fled to Mizoram after defying orders to shoot protestors
On 10 March, in an interview with BBC, police officers from Myanmar said that they fled across the border into Mizoram, India after refusing to carry out the orders of the military. The officer stated more than a dozen defectors told them they had escaped, fearing that they would be forced to kill or harm civilians. Further, the official stated that they were part of a growing number of officials who are joining the pro-democracy, civil disobedience movement (CDM) in the country.
 
Nepal: Supreme Court dismisses the existence of the ruling Nepal Communist Party
On 7 March, the Supreme Court of Nepal dismissed the existence of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), which was formed through the merger of K P Sharma Oli-led Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’-led Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) in 2018. A two-member bench of the Supreme Court ruled that the allocation of the NCP name to the new party was illegal because the name has previously been allotted to a party led by Rishi Kattel, thus the court ruled that the current ruling party named NCP stood “dismissed”. In yet another surprising decision, the verdict has pushed Nepal’s ruling party into a state of confusion.
 
Afghanistan: Blinken writes to Ghani, proposes UN-convened meeting
On 7 March, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a letter to President Ashraf Ghani put forth suggestions to the Afghan government to help accelerate the reconciliation process in Afghanistan. In the letter, Blinken suggested an UN-facilitated conference with international stakeholders, proposals to facilitate discussion between the two sides to form a negotiated settlement and ceasefire, a meeting in Turkey between both sides to finalize a peace agreement, and a revised proposal for a 90-day reduction in violence.  However, along with these, he stated that the US is considering all options regarding Afghanistan, including the 1 May deadline for full withdrawal of troops. Meanwhile, the US has also proposed an 8-page draft, “Afghanistan Peace Agreement,” which will be discussed in a meeting of political leaders hosted by the High Council for National Reconciliation.
 
Peace and Conflict from Central Asia, Middle East and Africa
Iraq: Pope visits war-torn cities, denounces extremism, meets Grand Ayatollah
On 5 March, Pope Francis commenced his three-day visit to Iraq marking the first-ever papal visit to the country. During the visit, the Pope met with the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the highest Shia cleric. The two religious leaders talked about the Christian community in Iraq and the Pope said they should be able to live in peace in the country, like any other Iraqi. On 7 March, the Pope visited Mosul, a city ravaged by conflict. Following this, on 10 March, the Pope “condemned weapons manufacturers and traffickers for selling arms to terrorists.” He said he asked himself, “Who sold the weapons to the terrorists? Who sells weapons to terrorists today who are carrying out massacres elsewhere, for example, in Africa?”
 
Syria: 86 per cent of Syrian refugees do not want to return home, reveals Save the Children
On 9 March, Save the Children released a report marking 10 years of the Syrian conflict. The report includes testimonies of “1,900 youths between the ages of 13-17 in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and the Netherlands.” It says that 86 per cent of the interviewees did not want to want to return home. The report, however, noted that Syrian refugee children in Jordan and Lebanon found it hard to thrive as Beirut is mired in an economic crisis and in Jordan, 36 per cent of the children are not enrolled in any education system. On the other hand, those living in the Netherlands had access to education and dreamed of a positive future.
 
Yemen: Houthis attack Aramco oil facility with missile
On 4 March, a Houthi military spokesperson said the rebel group had attacked a Saudi Arabian Aramco facility with a winged Quds-2 missile. On the same day, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen destroyed a ballistic missile and an armed drone launched by the Houthi group towards the Kingdom’s Jazan and Khamis Mushait cities respectively. However, the Houthi attack has raised questions about the group’s capabilities as the Aramco facility is over 1000 kilometres away from Yemen.
 
Equatorial Guinea: Suspected dynamite blast kills 98, injures more than 600
On 10 March, the state media reported that a series of blasts in military barracks in Bata city left at least 105 dead and 615 injured. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema said “negligent handling of dynamite” led to the blasts on 7 March. The Vice President, who is also in charge of defense and security, said the blasts may have occurred after “a farmer set fire to his plot to prepare it for food production and a breeze spread the flames to the nearby barracks where the high-calibre ammunition was stored.” However, the Human Rights Watch said the actual death toll might be higher.
 
Algeria: PM proposes law to revoke the nationality of those threatening national unity
On 3 March, the Prime Minister’s office announced that it proposes to introduce a law to withdraw the nationality of those who commit acts abroad that would threaten “the interests of the state or harm the national unity.” This includes people who “join, finance or glorify a terrorist organisation” and those who “deal with an enemy country.”
 
Senegal: President calls for de-escalation of violence, Sonko released on bail
On 8 March, President Macky Sall called for an end to the violent protests following the arrest of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko on 3 March. After supporters of Sonko clashed with the security forces, protests turned violent and at least six have died. Sonko was on the way to the court for a hearing of rape charges against him when he was arrested for disturbing public order. However, following the deadly clashes, Sonko was released on bail on 8 March. Sonko, one of the strong voices of opposition alleges that President Sall is trying to remove his political opponents ahead of the 2024 elections and has insisted that false charges are pressed against the President’s opponents.
 
Peace and Conflict from Europe and the Americas
France: Student admits spreading false claims about Samuel Paty
On 9 March, a 13-year-old French schoolgirl admitted to spreading false claims about Samuel Paty, who was beheaded in October 2020 after showing students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The girl, whose complaint sparked an online campaign against Paty, admitted that she was not in the class. The girl’s lawyer claimed, “She lied because she felt trapped in a spiral because her classmates had asked her to be a spokesperson.” On the other hand, the Paty family's lawyer said the girl's family was aware that she had not been in class on the day in. The lawyer added, “So to come and say now, sorry, I believed my daughter's lies, that's really weak.”
 
The US: 3,200 migrant children stuck in Border Patrol custody
On 8 March, more than 3,200 migrant children were stuck in Border Patrol facilities, with nearly half held beyond a three-day legal limit. Further, the government has stated that nearly 1,400 unaccompanied minors had been held in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) holding facilities for more than three days as of 8 March 2021, despite the agency's legal obligation to transfer these children to shelters operated by the US refugee agency within 72 hours of taking them into custody. This is yet another issue for the Biden administration as it struggles to respond to the sharp increase in the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the US-Mexico border.
 
The US-Venezuela: Biden offers Venezuelans living in the US temporary protected status
On 8 March, the US government decided to grant Venezuelans who are living in the US temporary protected status (TPS). As many as 320,000 Venezuelans living in the United States will be given an 18-month reprieve from the threat of being deported, giving them a chance to stay and work in the US legally. The homeland security secretary in a statement said, “The living conditions in Venezuela reveal a country in turmoil, unable to protect its own citizens,” adding “It is in times of extraordinary and temporary circumstances like these that the United States steps forward to support eligible Venezuelan nationals already present here, while their home country seeks to right itself out of the current crises.”
 
Paraguay: Mass protests erupt over disastrous handling of the pandemic
On 8 March, thousands of demonstrators gathered around Congress in Asunción marking the fourth day of protests amid calls to impeach President Mario Abdo over the handling of the COVID-19 health crisis and the dismal state of the public health system. The protesters as well as the opposition lawmakers have stated that the country’s health crisis had been worsened by corruption. Protesters and some lawmakers have also called for Abdo to be impeached.


About the authors
Apoorva Sudhakar and Abigail Miriam Fernandez are Project Assistants. Aparupa Bhattacherjee and Harini Madhusudan are PhD Scholars.D Suba Chandran is a Professor and Dean. All of them are at the School of Conflict and Security Studies, NIAS.

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