First Iran, then Tunisia, now Honduras, Central America and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa, have joined the expanding list of nations facing social upheaval and political instability in 2018.
The continuing protests in Honduras that flared again last weekend, stemmed from a disputed presidential election there last November, when incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez, was declared winner in a vote opposition leader Salvador Nasralla, and his supporters, have decried as tainted.
Nasralla was leading in the vote count until his lead was suddenly surpassed by Hernandez. The vote was supervised and counted by an election tribunal, appointed by the Honduras congress, which in controlled by the president's National Party.
A 60-year-old man was killed on Saturday when police fired into a road block of protesters, bringing the number of deaths to 14 that have been killed since protests started, Amnesty International recorded and as reported by the BBC-News. Hernandez, who has ruled the volatile and crime-ridden Honduras since 2013, ran for a second-term in November after his supreme court lifted a ban on re-election for presidents.
Across the Atlantic Ocean to Africa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Catholic Church there has called for large, but peaceful demonstrations to protest the extended stay in office of President Joseph Kabila, who has ran DRC since 2001. He was to leave office in 2016. He did not. His authorities extended his rule to the end of 2017, claiming they were not in a position to hold new elections, yet 2017 has passed and still remains in office. Kabila's authorities have again claimed they wouldn't be in a position to hold elections until December, 2018.
Thus, the Catholic Church has encouraged peaceful protests urging a return to the democratic process, but Kabila's government have denied permits for marches. Yet, yesterday, after Sunday Mass, thousands of believers marched in the streets, where they were met by heavy security forces. A number of people were injured and deaths have reached some seven since protests started in December against Kabila and his cling to power. United Nations (UN) Peacekeepers have been deployed to the capital, Kinshasa, to monitor developments.
From the Americas to the Middle East and to Africa, many people have entered 2018 with a resolve to march, to protest and to demand better governance and for the rule of law. And it is still only January.