Resource: 30 Years of Uprisings

BY Larisa Epatko  February 3, 2011 at 11:34 AM EDT

The upheaval in Egypt is reminiscent of past protest movements and rebellions that have produced varying results. Some have brought down governments and transformed societies, others have dissipated or been crushed. We highlight some of them here:

1979: Iranian Revolution
During the Iranian Revolution, Iran’s monarchy tumbles, and the Islamic Republic of Iran under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini is born.

Demonstrators crowd freedom square in Tehran in 1979 (right).

1986: Philippines
The People Power Revolution deposes Ferdinand Marcos after 20 years in power in the Philippines.


1987: Singing Revolution
Events from 1987 to 1991 led to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania gaining their independence from Soviet communist rule. Estonian artist Heinz Valk comes up with the name from the 1988 spontaneous mass singing demonstrations at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds.


Photo of Baltic way taken near the border between Latvia and Lithuania

1989: Tiananmen Square
Students, intellectuals and labor activists held a series of anti-government protests in China’s Tiananmen Square, which led to a military crackdown on the demonstrations.

1989: Velvet Revolution
The non-violent Velvet Revolution overthrew the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. Other Eastern bloc countries were destabilizing during this time.

1997: Lottery Uprising
Albanians protested against the government’s Ponzi scheme failures, leading to an overthrow of the government and 2,000 deaths.

1997: Kosovo Rebellion
Kosovo Liberation Army begins military campaign against Yugoslavia to obtain Kosovo’s independence.

1998: Bolivarian Revolution
Socialist leader Hugo Chavez is elected in Venezuela, launching the Bolivarian Revolution, named after Simon Bolivar, of democracy based on referendums, economic independence and an end to political corruption.

2000: Bulldozer Revolution
The Bulldozer Revolution topples Slobodan Milosevic’s regime in Yugoslavia.


Demonstration at the mayor’s office in Tbilisi, Georgia

2003: Rose Revolution
The Rose Revolution removes Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze and calls for new elections.

2004: Orange Revolution
A series of protests after a disputed presidential runoff eventually led to the inauguration of Viktor Yushchenko as president.

2005: Cedar Revolution
Following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, demonstrators demanded the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon and replacement of the government.

2005: Tulip Revolution
The Tulip Revolution results in the overthrow of President Askar Akayev and his government in the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan.


Anti-government protest in Myanmar. Photo by racoles/Flickr

2007: Saffron Revolution
Buddhist monks, students and opposition activists led a series of anti-government protests in Myanmar, which the military squelched.

2009: Green Movement in Iran
Following disputed presidential elections, masses under the label the Green Movement protested President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election. He remained in office and the movement dissipated.

2010: Kyrgyzstan
Riots in Kyrgyzstan caused President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to flee the country and an interim government to form.


Thai “Red Shirt” anti-government protesters set up camps in Bangkok. Photo by Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP/Getty Images

2010: Thailand Protests
Anti-government protests organized by “Red Shirts” sought the dissolution of parliament and new elections.

2011: Tunisia
Street protests and riots over unemployment, the high cost of food and corruption led to the ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and to similar protests in other parts of the Arab world, including Egypt, Yemen and Jordan.

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