Responding to Protest Movements: Latin America and Eastern Europe
This report is one of a pair of research reports looking at how governments respond to protest movements. This report reviews broad trends internationally, drawing on illustrative examples from Latin America and Eastern Europe; the second report examines protests movements in the Middle East and North Africa in more depth. Government responses from Chile (2011-2013), Ukraine (2013-2014), Guatemala (2015), and Romania (2012-2018) are illustrated in the case studies. In general, the most common government responses to protests are to tolerate them without directly engaging with the protesters, or to repress the protests through either violent or nonviolent means. Governments accommodate protesters’ demands in a minority of cases, ranging between 8% and about 25% of protests according to studies looking at various types of protests, geographic scopes, and time periods (Brancati, 2016; Clark & Regan, 2018; Franklin, 2009). The responses that governments do make to protests are influenced by many factors. In general, as protests cause increasing levels of disruption to the economy and society, the probability of a government accommodating protesters’ demands and making concessions increases. Most protests do not achieve their desired outcomes; they either generate no response or they are repressed, either violently or non-violently. Many protests, however, do achieve results whichcan include high officials resigning, legislation being repealed and initiatives halted or changed,constitutional reform, or other changes to political, economic, or social policy.