31. Iraq: 13,000 (April)
UN called for restraint in Iraq after days of clashes that left at least 150 people dead as thousands of Sunnis protested in Falluja and Ramadi against the Shia-led government. This wave of protests began in December 2012.
30. USA: 13,000 (September 11)
“2 Million Bikers to DC” was a motorcycle ride originally organized to protest the issuance of a permit to the American Muslim Political Action Committee to rally on the National Mall. It’s impossible to find out how many riders were in Washington on 9/11 this year, but the range (10K-75K) likely puts the real number of participants well above 13,000.
29. Bahrain: 13,000 (August 14-16)
Bahrain Tamarod was a three-day protest campaign that spread to 60 locations in Bahrain starting on August 14. Police responded with teargas and birdshot. Estimates of participants vary: from thousands to tens and hundreds of thousands.
28. Armenia: 13,000 (since February)
Protesting the results of the 2013 presidential elections, Armenia’s political groups and civil society have been staging anti-government demonstrations all year, the largest of them gathering as many as 5,000 protesters.
27. Israel: 15,000 (May 16)
Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews have protested compulsory military draft in Jerusalem.
26. Russia: 17,000 (January, May, June)
Russia’s street protests are stalling as fewer people are showing up at organized rallies. Estimates on this year’s largest demonstrations vary greatly, with the March Against Scoundrels and the March Against Executioners attracting the most attention.
25. Bulgaria: 20,000 (January-March; since May)
Prime Minister Boyko Borisov resigned on February 20 under pressure from a country-wide protest that brought tens of thousands of people to the streets of 30 Bulgarian cities. The country’s second wave of anti-government protests, this time against the cabinet of Plamen Oresharski, featured a parliament siege in July, when the protesters forced more than 100 politicians and journalists to spend the night in a barricaded building.
24. Guinea: 20,000 (March-April)
Thousands of people took to the streets as opposition parties accused President Alpha Conde of trying to rig coming legislative elections in the world’s largest bauxite exporter. By early March, the toll from the protests reached at least 8 dead and more than 220 injured.
23. Niger: 20,000 (TODAY!)
Hot off the griddle, the protest against President Mahamadou Issoufou’s rule began today. The people are accusing the government of corruption and media censorship.
22. Pakistan: 40,000 (January 14-17)
In Pakistan’s “Long March”, a firebrand Islamic cleric led thousands to the capital protesting against alleged government corruption.
21. Ireland: 50,000 (February)
This year’s highlight of the 2008–13 Irish protests over the financial crisis came on February 9, when some 25,000 people marched in Dublin, joined by as many fellow citizens across the country.
20. Italy: 50,000 (December)
Protesting austerity measures, tax hikes, and corruption, Italians have been rallying across the country since December 9. Looks like Portugal and Austria are eager to join.
19. Taiwan: 68,000 (March 11)
More than 68,000 protested against the completion of Taiwan’s fourth nuclear power plant.
18. Philippines: 75,000 (August 22-26)
In my favorite protest of the year, more than 75,000 people turned out for the Million People March in Manila, protesting over the “Pork Barrel Scam.” Quod dei deo, quod Caesaris Caesari.
17. Malaysia: 80,000 (January 13)
Malaysian opposition kicked off the year with a massive rally through city streets to the legendary Stadium Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur. In May, another rally brought together a smaller crowd of 50,000 people.
16. Bangladesh: 100,000 (February)
The 2013 Shahbag protests in Dhaka, Bangladesh, centered around a demand for capital punishment for Abdul Quader Mollah, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment by the International Crimes Tribunal. Several weeks later, the announcement of death sentence for Islamist politician and cleric Delwar Hossain Sayidee sparked an atrocious wave of anti-Hindu violence in different parts of the country, with many dozens killed and hundreds injured.
15. Tunisia: 100,000 (since February)
Mass protests in Tunisia hit the 13,000 mark on many occasions this year. It all started with the assassination of leftist politician Chokri Belaid, whose funeral was attended by an estimated 100,000 Tunisians. Another notable rally rocked Tunis in early August.
14. Chile: 100,000 (since 2011)
For two years, massive student marches took place in Chile’s major cities. In June, students seized 30 polling stations and started street battles with police. In April, student protests brought together at least 80 thousand people.
13. Cambodia: 100,000 (since September)
Thousands of workers (estimates put the number up to a million) have been protesting in Cambodia this year, calling for a higher minimum wage and for resignation of Prime Minister Hun Sen. The protest turned deadly in November.
12. Thailand: 100,000 (since November)
Unidentified gunmen opened fire on peaceful protesters on December 28, killing one and wounding three. Estimated in the 100-400K range at peak points, the Thai protests are the largest in country’s history.
11. Indonesia: 120,000 (May 1)
On May Day, workers from Jakarta and its satellite cities marched to the Presidential Palace to deliver their demands to government offices and the House of Representatives.
10. France: 150,000 (May 26)
Thousands (estimates vary between 150K and 340K) of French gathered peacefully on France’s Mother’s Day this year to protest the country’s legalization of gay marriage. The majority of French support equal marriage.
9. Romania: 200,000 (since January)
Up to half a million Romanians have taken part in social protests, the biggest since the days of Communism, but most of the outrage is directed at the government’s approval of draft legislation to open Europe’s largest opencast gold mine at Rosia Montana. As CNN says, Romania is on fire.
8. Colombia: 250,000 (August)
On August 19, Colombian farmers began a nationwide strike. Students, labor unions, and health workers joined quickly. At the end of August, violent protests left at least two people dead and dozens injured in the nation’s capital, leading to a deployment of 50,000 soldiers to patrol the streets of Bogota.
7. Ukraine: 500,000 (since November 21)
Euromaidan’s anti-government protesters are demanding that Ukraine seek closer integration with the European Union. The country’s largest cities joined in, but so far another revolution seems like a distant possibility in Ukraine.
6. Argentina: 1 million (April 18)
The 18A was the largest cacerolazo (lit. “stew pot,” a shock demonstration) against President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Reasons: a deteriorating economy + media & courts reforms.
5. Egypt: 1 million+ (all year long)
On June 30, a military source told AFP that “millions” of people were out in the streets in Egypt’s biggest-ever protest. BBC cites the unlikely number of 17 million people who took part in Egypt’s street protests during the Arab Spring. “Tens of thousands” of Egyptians gathered on numerous occasions this year. The clashes continue, the death toll keeps rising, no end is in sight.
4. Spain: 1.5 million (September 11, 2013)
Meant to say “Spain err Catalonia”! The Catalan Way was a 250-mile human chain in support of Catalan Independence. It’s a world record!
3. Brazil: 2 million (June-July)
Brazil’s largest public protests since 1992 began after the government decided to increase public transit prices in several cities. The demands went deeper, of course: fix the economy, expand social services, stop wasting money on the ‘16 Olympics and the ‘14 World Cup.
2. Turkey: 2.5 million (since May)
Liberal estimates put the total number of protesters at 3.5 mil. At least 5,000 demonstrations took part in the country this year, all connected to the original Gezi Park protest in Istanbul. Five people were killed and more than 8,000 injured.
1. India: One Hundred Million (February 19-20)
Historic? Unbelievable? Even ten percent of the estimated one hundred million participants for this two-day strike put India’s protester crowds well ahead the rest of the world. Tens of millions of workers joined the strike organized by 11 major trade unions in February. Fun fact: The New York Times didn’t write a single article about it.
A word of advice for journalists:
Stop citing estimates in the “tens of thousands.” More precision in counting!
A word of advice for protesters:
Don’t stop y’all. Be safe.