Special Issue #1

Social movements amid the Covid-19 pandemic

Dear Reader,  

A very warm welcome to our first special issue, “Social movements amid the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has brought public health issues to the forefront of our minds. But how has the power by the state and social movements evolved during the pandemic? This is one central question authors in this special issue shed light on. From Hong Kong to Cairo, writers analyse how the pandemic has been instrumentalised by authorities to quell social unrest. 

Covid-19 has exacerbated pre-existing dynamics accelerating changing social phenomena and shedding light on them. Local and national responses to the pandemic have opened up new sites of social and political contestation but they have also exposed long standing inequalities, systemic racism, and abuses of power. 

These are only some of the avenues currently being discussed. We look forward to providing more pieces across the autumn with articles which will continue to analyse the ‘new normal’ as our social worlds remain in continuous flux.

Insta-Activism: Tackling Sexual Harassment in Egypt

On 1 July, 2020, the Egyptian social media scene was shaken by viral allegations against Ahmed Bassem Zaki, an accused sexual predator now facing legal investigation by the Egyptian Public Prosecution Office. A dedicated Instagram page, @assaultpolice, was created to raise awareness about Zaki’s notorious history of alleged rape, assault, and harassment. This page has…

In Hong Kong, the Covid crisis has ailed the pro-democracy movement

John Brake is a PhD Candidate in Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge On July 31, Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, announced a one-year delay of district council elections planned for September 2020. While Lam cited public health considerations related to the coronavirus pandemic, the delay deprived pro-democracy politicians of…

Feminist protests in France during COVID-19

On 11 May 2020, France started easing its restrictions following a first national lockdown. To avoid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, a host of rules were put in place. One of them was that group meetings larger than 10 were prohibited. Despite these restrictions, thousands of individuals came out in the streets across the nation…

LGBTQ+ social movements in Singapore during Covid-19

Pink Dot is an LGBTQ+ movement in Singapore that holds an annual event supporting LGBTQ+ rights. The event is typically held in person at the Speakers’ Corner in Hong Lim Park, the only location in Singapore where events, demonstrations, and speeches may be held or made without a license, although it is still necessary to…