By Micaela Burrow
- People have risen up throughout the globe over inflation, high costs of living and government corruption.
- Western sanctions on Russia have produced shortages in essential commodities, causing prices to skyrocket.
- “Sanctions on Russia will prove to be a graveyard for many governments around the world,” economist Steve Hanke told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Protests in wealthy and developing countries throughout the globe have sprung up in recent weeks over economic grievances and “ill-advised” government policies.
Countries are struggling with inflation and exorbitant fuel costs, while the war in Ukraine has cut off major sources of food and fertilizer that experts warn may cause a global food catastrophe. Facing lower standards of living and poverty in cases, people in many countries are demonstrating against what they perceive as their governments’ poor handling of economic challenges.
“The primary underlying cause of the protests are the Western sanctions being imposed on Russia,” Steve Hanke, professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University and former Reagan adviser, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “They have totally disrupted the international oil market, market for grains, cooking oil and a host of other basic commodities.”
People in Pakistan are demonstrating after the newly-instated government slashed fuel subsidies and increased taxes, sending fuel prices skyrocketing up to 70% by the end of July, the Times of India reported. The International Monetary Fund awarded Pakistan up to $1.17 billion Thursday on top of its 2019 $6 billion bailout loan as the economy teeters on default, with only enough foreign currency reserves to sustain five weeks of imports.
Protesters have blocked roads in Panama for three weeks, halting food deliveries as a way to pressure the government into constraining public spending and reforming corrupt behavior, Reuters reported Wednesday. The government has implemented austerity measures and capped fuel costs, but inflation continues to climb.
Puerto Ricans demonstrated Wednesday against a government contract with the LUMA power company, which, despite frequent outages, hiked rates 17% in July, according to Reuters.
Roughly 100 truckers blocked a major highway in Australia Wednesday, alleging the government has fixed pay rates that don’t correspond to the price of fuel despite promises to implement a fuel levy, Sky News reported.
“Our fuel is up to 50-60 per cent of our costs and they’ve stuck us out to dry so we’ve decided to come for a drive into the city to show them we need this done,” Victorian Tippers United Treasurer Ricky Woolcock told Sky News.
Opposition leaders joined protesters Tuesday outside the Indian parliament building to demonstrate against inflation and a 5% hike in taxes on certain packaged food items and commodities, Republic World reported.
Cubans on July 15 protested government power cuts and lack of food service, Radio Television Marti reported. Demonstrators chanted “We are hungry” and “Down with communism.”
France’s Yellow Vest protesters gathered in Paris on Bastille Day, July 14, amidst soaring inflation to influence the government to reduce taxes and freeze prices on certain necessary goods, according to French radio station RFI.
Protesters marched outside of the Argentine presidential palace on July 9, expressing their outrage over rising inflation levels, reaching 60% at the time, and tight economic policies associated with a $44 billion loan agreement struck with the IMF earlier in 2022, Reuters reported. Juan Carlos Giordano, one of the protesters and a socialist, said that “Argentina must break its ties with the IMF, which is the Spanish Empire of the 21st century.”
On July 7, a national holiday commemorating the day Kenyans gathered to advocate for free elections, 1700 people demonstrated against the high cost of living in Kenya, The Guardian reported. The price of maize, a staple crop, has doubled since 2021.
Also on July 7, thousands of Albanians demanded the current government resign amidst corruption scandals and an escalating cost-of-living crisis linked to the war in Ukraine and lingering impacts of COVID-19, according to The Associated Press.
Farmers and industry advocates in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Poland staged uprisings earlier in July over government agriculture and food import policies they see as devastating to local industry.
Protesters ousted the former president of Sri Lanka in early July amidst power cuts, fuel rations and alleged corruption after a environmentally-motivated ban on artificial fertilizers decimated domestic agricultural production and cut revenues. The new government is reportedly nearing a bailout agreement with the IMF, according to Reuters.
Police clashed violently with protesters in Ecuador for a week in June, leaving three dead and up to 100 wounded, over the increasing cost of living, according to The New York Times.
“Sanctions on Russia will prove to be a graveyard for many governments around the world,” Hanke told the DCNF.
The State Department argued that the Biden administration designed U.S. sanctions to minimize negative consequences on global markets.
“Russia’s claims that U.S. sanctions are to blame for the rising costs of food and fuel prices are patently false,” a senior administration official told the DCNF. “It’s Putin’s war of choice which impacts economies around the globe and pushes the world’s most vulnerable populations to greater food insecurity.”
The White House did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.