International News

Uprisings in north Africa and the Middle East

The first few weeks of the year have seen a substantial number of countries -Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Yemen - where the citizens have decided to take to the streets in order to demand a change in their governments. These are protests against corruption and demands for more democratic governments. So far there have been some deaths, but the demonstrations have mostly been peaceful and the regimes have not used violence to repress them. Indeed, in some cases the army has acted as a guarantor of peace and legitimised the protests. We do not yet know where this wave of democracy will lead or its geographical extent (the word "Egypt" has been prohibited on Twitter in China) but any progress made, if it is a consequence of peaceful mobilisation by citizens, is welcome.