“Pandemic and social protests: cities as flashpoints in the COVID-19 era”, Eva García Chueca and Francesc Teodoro (CIDOB, Barcelona)

Since the global financial crisis of 2008, the levels of global protest have been increasing, a trend that has recently intensified owing to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these manifestations consist of new social mobilisations expressing the population’s dissatisfaction with the health management of the crisis, or new ad hoc demands related with the social and economic problems caused by the pandemic. Others, however, are a continuation of pre-existing protests that have intensified as a result of post-pandemic worsening of the material conditions that caused them in the first place. Social unrest over the last decade (2011 – 2021), especially that occurring in urban settings, provides an insight into the contextual framework in which social protests of the post-COVID era have erupted. As we shall describe below, this is a backdrop that warns of complex situations that will arise in cities in the short and medium terms as a result of exacerbating inequalities and a concomitant increase in social discord.

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