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How do you protest in the era of the coronavirus?

In Russia, "virtual protesters" have clustered outside government buildings, at a safe social distance, and they post messages online demanding more financial assistance from authorities.

Young climate change activists have heeded the call by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, the founder of the global school strike movement, to avoid big protests to help contain the novel coronavirus.

"We have to adapt. That is what you have to do in a crisis," she told activists last month. She encouraged her followers to move their climate action protests online and use the hashtag #DigitalStrike.

2019 was a revolutionary year, with 12 months of protests and mass mobilizations from Hong Kong to Bolivia, and from France to Lebanon, rocking political establishments as they unfolded.

Few parts of the world were unaffected.

In Russia's capital, Moscow, protesters were outraged by rigged elections. In Britain, people rallied against Brexit. Serbia, Ukraine, Albania and the central European states all experienced major demonstrations. Separatists battled police in the restive region of Catalonia. Dissent in the Middle East prompted talk of a new Arab Spring. In Sudan, President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown by the military following months of mass protests.

In the Americas, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela all experienced popular unrest.

But 2020 has become the year of house confinement.

Protesters who want to keep within lockdown rules - either out of a sense of social responsibility or fear of punishment - must navigate social distancing and travel restrictions to make their voices heard. Many fear contracting the potentially deadly coronavirus if they congregate.

Many movements are determined not to be silenced, although they acknowledge they can't be as effective now as they were last year.


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