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Protest potentials in post-COVID Mena: A third wave of the Arab Spring?
6 October 2020, 09:00-10:30 (NYC, Washington, DC) / 14:00-15:30 CET (Algier, Tunis, Rabat) / 15:00-16:30 CEST/EET (Berlin, Brussels, Cairo) / 16:00-17:30 EEST (Amman, Beirut)

In the months prior to the Covid-19 crisis, mass protests in Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon and Sudan seemed to foreshadow a second Arab Spring. Persistent inequality and a series of events that visibilised the rampant state corruption had sparked widespread protests across the region. These protests demonstrated how a generation of young people without jobs and without the prospect of getting on in the world had lost faith in the political class. It is hard to see how the pandemic will do anything but reinforce this lack of trust. For the time being, corona has snuffed out mass demonstrations. Yet, as the virus is causing serious socio-economic disruption, it might stoke the region’s revolutionary flames soon again. Will the corona induced economic crisis thus mutate into a full-blown systemic crisis? Could the economic shock and the restrictive measures to control the spread of the virus even drive a “third wave of” the Arab Spring? Or will authorities seize the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity to shore up their grip on power and suppress popular dissent? How has the pandemic affected social movements themselves and their abilities to make their claims heard through public protests? Finally, what can European decision-makers learn from past mistakes? After lacking the courage in 2011, how can Europa best support socio-economic and political participation in a post-COVID MENA-region?

Moderators: Jannis Julien Grimm, FES / Annabelle Houdret, DIE

Speakers: Rima Majed, Assistant Professor of Sociology, American University of Beirut
Amel Boubekeur, Visiting Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations
Irene Weipert-Fenner, Senior Researcher, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt
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