Unrest and protest are the two sides of the same coin. One does not exist without the other. It is usually so, that unrest among people leads them towards protest. People protest against things or causes they are not happy with, something which tampers with their comfort. Protests usually break out after a “trigger event” related to something people already are feeling unhappy about.
The recent protest in Chile over a slight rise in subway fares is one of the best examples we can take. The people already were not happy about the economic gap among people and this raise was perceived as an attempt to increase that gap. What began as a student’s peaceful protest, soon turned into a full-blown movement which included the middle-class people of the country as well. So much so that the president had to declare a state emergency and law enforcement had to get involved.
The protests in Chile over the weekend—the worst unrest the country has seen since the days of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, according to news reports—may have started with a fare hike, but quickly came to represent the growing chasm between the have- and the have-nots in the country, Thomas Vicino says a professor of Political Science, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs. He is also the associate dean for graduate studies in Northeastern University’s College of Social Sciences and Humanities.
“It was a modest increase, but it represents something much larger to middle-class Chileans who feel like they’ve been left behind in the global economy,” he says.
No one can predict such events. A protest can rise at any moment over any issue. However, its impacts can be controlled by looking closely at what people are not happy about. In the days of social media and trending hash-tags, it is easier to keep track of trends and take action accordingly. It is not a full-proof plan, but it will be a start.