Protests sparked by the current economic downturn are popping up all over Europe. Not all of them are peaceful either.
Rioting in Iceland forced the resignation of the country’s Prime Minister last Tuesday. Police arrested 20 of the 2,000 protesters after the crowd began throwing smoke bombs, attempted to break windows at parliament, and hurled snow and ice at the PM’s car. Police used mace to break up the crowd.
Greek farmers lifted roadblocks Friday that had been in place for over ten days. The farmers set the blocks up to call the Greek government’s attention to the lack of action on falling agricultural prices. “The farmers returned to their farms and houses and the biggest protest in the agricultural sector so far ended in the best possible way,” said the Greek Agricultural Minister.
Lithuania, Latvia, and Bulgaria erupted in protest last week. 14 were injured in the Lithuanian capital as actions turned violent. Looting and destruction resulted from demonstrations in Riga, Latvia’s capital. Store windows and police vehicles were smashed by rioters. Over 100 were arrested.
Union strikes have spilled over into France and Britain. Despite the disruption of services in France, things have staid peaceful in both France and Britain.
Should we be worried in the US? If things get worse before they get better, which isn’t unlikely, would citizens take to the streets. Some are already saying Europe is facing a “Revolution Winter”. A few say we might not be far behind. “It’s amazing that people aren’t more angry here,” Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “Our government is still looking out more for the banks and the people who caused the mess than the people who are being victimized.”
Americans tend to protest in a more constructive way. Americans are calling their representatives, emailing, and using netroots programs to get their views straight to those with the power to make the changes. Most of us recognize that this whole thing is in the government’s hands at this point. Preventing them from working on this thing wont help anyone right now. Alarmists out there would like you to think riots will flame up across the country tomorrow. They wont and saying they will wont help. Band together and help your neighbors. We’ve gone through hardships before and we’ll make it through this one.