Time's 'Person of the Year': The Protester

Dec 14, 2011, 10:21 by R.E. Christian

Time magazine Wednesday named "The Protester" as its 2011 Person of the Year.

The magazine cited the "days of rage" in North Africa and the Middle East as an example of how protest has become relevant again. The "democratic dream had achieved breathtaking momentum, spreading not just to the softer monarchical dictatorships -- Jordan, Bahrain, Morocco -- but also to Yemen, Algeria and the hardcore police states Syria and Libya," the magazine said in a release.

Protest spread to Europe in the spring.

"On May 15, tens of thousands marched to Madrid's Puerta del Sol plaza, along with tens of thousands more in dozens of other cities, united by slogans like 'We are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers.' They were frustrated by unemployment, a lack of opportunity and politics headed nowhere. They called themselves Los Indignados, the Outraged," the magazine said.

About 6 million out of a population of 46 million participated in Indignados protests.

"Spain's one-day march turned into a months-long self-governing encampment -- one of the new defining characteristics of 2011's brand of communal resistance."

Protests then spread to Greece, where austerity forced by the European Union sent tens of thousands into the streets.

After police shot and killed a young black man in London, riots broke out all over England.

Among other examples cited was the Occupy movement in the United States, which began in July in New York, climaxed in September and spread across the country with the same themes -- the U.S. economy is broken and politics is corrupted by big money.

Even Russians expressed their dissatisfaction.

"On Dec. 10, five days after the first protest, tens of thousands gathered in Moscow in the largest demonstration since just after the fall of communism," the magazine said, with simultaneous protests in dozens of other cities all over Russia. Protesters alleged fraud in parliamentary elections.

"They are protesting corruption and the lack of real freedom and true democracy."

Source: UPI