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South Asia Protest Trends: An Analysis Of 938 Protests

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This GRID91 report analyses major protests in South Asia from January 1, 2021 to November 30, 2021. Based on the analysis of 938 protests, key trends observed are presented.

The report presents analyses pertaining to the progression of major protests in South Asia at the regional and national level. It also covers the most active protest groups and distribution of protests by organisation type. Finally, it highlights the South Asian cities which have emerged as protest hotspots thus far.

The key findings indicate that India  with  586  protests  (63.5%)  has witnessed the highest share of protests in 2021, followed by Pakistan with 158 protests (17.1%) and Bangladesh with 67 protests (7.3%).

The National  Capital  Territory  (NCT) of India, with 301  protests, accounts for 33.8% of the total protests.

The Indian farm unions have been the most active protesting group, accounting for 279 of the 938 recorded  protests. They have been followed by locals, Indian National Congress, and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Organisations affiliated with farmers have accounted for 34.4% of protests in South Asia. Civil society groups and political parties have accounted for 24% and 23.6% of protests respectively in the region.

Prominent protest sites include national capitals (NCT, Dhaka, Islamabad and Kathmandu) given the ability of protesting groups to garner maximum attention and escalate, if needed, in these cities.

Highest number of protests (45) were recorded in the last week of June, while the lowest number of protests (7) were recorded in the last week of September.

50 violent protests were witnessed in South Asia accounting for 5.3% of the total recorded protests.

With 19  protests, Pakistan   witnessed the most number of violent protests, followed by India with 17 violent protests.

Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP)  has been the most active protesting group and was involved in con- ducting  8 violent protests.

PROGRESSION OF MAJOR PROTESTS IN SOUTH ASIA IN 2021

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  • The highest number of protests (45) were recorded in the last week of June. The third weeks of May and June recorded 27 protests each.

  • The lowest number of protests (7) were recorded in the last week of September.

COUNTRY-WISE PROGRESSION OF PROTESTS IN SOUTH ASIA IN 2021

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Country-wise progression trends showed that South Asia’s protest landscape was dominated by protests in India, with the number of protests in India overshadowing protests in other South Asian countries by a wide margin.

DISTRIBUTION OF MAJOR PROTESTS IN SOUTH ASIA IN 2021

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  • India has accounted for 63.5% of the protests in South Asia in 2021 with 586 protests.

  • Pakistan and Bangladesh have witnessed 158 and 67 protests, accounting for 17.1% and 7.3% of the region’s protests, respectively.

  • Bhutan was the most peaceful country in the region with 0 recorded protests, followed by Maldives with 6 protests.

MOST ACTIVE PROTEST GROUPS IN SOUTH ASIA IN 2021

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  • Indian farm unions have been the most active protesting group in South Asia, having organised 279 of the 938 protests. They have been protesting against the three farm laws passed by India in September, 2020.

  • Local residents are the second biggest protest organisers followed by Indian political parties like the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

DISTRIBUTION OF PROTESTS IN SOUTH ASIA IN 2021 BY ORGANISATION TYPE

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  • Organisations affiliated with farmers have accounted for 34.4% of protests in South Asia.

  • Civil society groups and political parties have accounted for 24% and 23.6% of protests in the region.

SOUTH ASIAN CITIES WITH HIGHEST NUMBER OF PROTESTS IN 2021

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  • The National Capital Territory (NCT) of India, with 301 protests, accounts for 33.8% of the total protests and has been by far the most active city. Notably, NCR is the epicenter of protests against the farm laws.

  • The most active cities in South Asia are metropolitan centres, where mobilisation of people and resources is easier.

  • The presence of NCT, Dhaka, Islamabad and Kathmandu in this list indicates that protesting groups prefer to congregate in national capitals. This may be to potentially garner maximum attention, apply necessary pressure on government institutions and escalate accordingly if required.

DAY-WISE DISTRIBUTION OF PROTESTS IN SOUTH ASIA IN 2021

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  • Monday (22.2%) and Wednesday (19%) are the most active protest days of the week.

  • However,the distribution of protests through the week is fairly even with the exception of Saturday, which accounts for only 5.9% of total recorded protests.

VIOLENT PROTESTS IN SOUTH ASIA IN 2021

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  • Violent protests account for 5.3% of the total protests.

  • With 19 protests, Pakistan witnessed the most number of violent protests, followed by India with 17 violent protests.

ENTITY RESPONSIBLE FOR MOST NUMBER OF VIOLENT PROTESTS IN SOUTH ASIA IN 2021

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  • Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) carried out the highest number of violent protests (8).

  • The group organised nation-wide protests in April, 2021 and in Gujranwala and Lahore in October, 2021.

  • Multiple cities like Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Sheikhpura, Rahim Yar    Khan, Sahiwal, Gujrat, Larkana and Khuzdar witnessed violent protests in April, 2021.

CITIES WITNESSING HIGHEST NUMBER OF VIOLENT PROTESTS IN 2021

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The cities of Gujranwala, Pakistan; Chandigarh, India and Kathmandu, Nepal witnessed the highest number of violent protests (3 each) in 2021.

MONTH-WISE DISTRIBUTION OF VIOLENT PROTESTS IN SOUTH ASIA IN 2021

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  • The month of April witnessed a total of 8 violent protests, the highest in 2021. It was followed by the month of October (7).

  • Meanwhile, the months of January and May saw the least amount of violent protests (2).

 

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