December 17, 2014 8:11 AM EST In 2011, TIME named the Protester as the Person of the Year, in recognition of the twin people-power earthquakes of the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street. TIME named the Ebola Fighters as the 2014 Person of the Year, but you could have forgiven if we went back to the Protester. There wasn’t a corner of the planet untouched by protest this year, from the tear-gassed streets of Ferguson, Missouri, to the squares of Mexico City, to the impromptu student camps of Hong Kong. Many of the protests were remarkably peaceful, like Occupy Hong Kong, which was galvanized by public anger over the overreaction of the city’s police. Others turned bloody, like the Euromaidan protests in Kiev, Ukraine, which eventually brought down the government of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, in turn triggering a war that led to the annexation of Crimea by Russia, the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in May and the deaths of thousands of Ukrainians.
Not every protest was as effective as those that began the year in the cold of Kiev. Hong Kongers still don’t have full democratic rights, gay rights are on the retreat in much of east Africa and every day seems to bring news of another questionable police killing in the U.S. But the wave of social action that ended 2014 is unlikely to crest in 2015. The ubiquity of camera phones means no shortage of iconic photographs and videos from any protest, whether in Lima or Los Angeles, and social media gives everyone the means to broadcast. What follows are some of the most powerful images from the global streets in 2014.
Thailand: Anti-government protestsAn anti-government protestor listens as leader Suthep Thaugsuban speaks about the elections during his daily speech Feb. 3, 2014 in Bangkok. Paula Bronstein—Getty Images Kenya: Support for LGBT rightsA masked Kenyan supporter of the LGBT community joins others during a protest against Uganda's anti-gay bill in front of the Ugandan High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya, Feb. 10, 2014. Dai Kurokawa—EPA Russia: Protest performance at Sochi OlympicsA Cossack militiaman attacks Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and a photographer as she and fellow members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Maria Alekhina, center, in the pink balaclava, stage a protest performance in Sochi, Russia, Feb. 19, 2014. Morry Gash—AP Ukraine: Euromaidan protestsProtesters stand behind burning barricades during a face-off against police on Feb. 20, 2014 on Independence Square in Kiev. Bulent Kilic—AFP/Getty Images Turkey: Protest against the ruling AK partyRiot police use tear gas to disperse demonstrators as they try to march to the Turkish Parliament during a protest against Turkey's ruling AK Party government in Ankara Feb. 26, 2014. Umit Bektas—Reuters Venezuela: Anti-government protestsDemonstrators take cover from a police water cannon in Caracas, Feb. 28, 2014. Rodrigo Abd—AP Israel: Protest against new conscription lawsUltra-Orthodox Jews dance as they gather for a mass prayer in protest to the government's army conscription laws in Jerusalem, March 2, 2014. Abir Sultan—EPA Turkey: Protests after the death of a teenage boy who had been left comatose during a police crackdown on anti-government protests in 2013A protester waves a black flag during clashes with riot police in Kadikoy, on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, on March 11, 2014. Bulent Kilic—AFP/Getty Images Peru: Protest against government's crackdown on illegal gold mining.A woman throws a rock and a bag at police blocking her from getting home in the Huepetuhe district of the Madre de Dios region of Peru., April 28, 2014. Rodrigo Abd—AP United States: Protests demanding higher wages for fast-food workersDemonstrators take part in a protest to demand higher wages for fast-food workers outside McDonald's in Los Angeles, May 15, 2014. Lucy Nicholson—Reuters Kenya: Protests against tuition fee hikesA woman flees as a riot police officer beats her with a baton, after chasing protesting students into the Nairobi University campus in Nairobi, Kenya, May 20, 2014. Dai Kurokawa—EPA Thailand: Anti-coup protestThai military stand behind their riot shields as protesters threaten them during an anti-coup protest on the third day of the military coup May 25, 2014 in Bangkok. Paula Bronstein—Getty Images Brazil: Protest against public spending on World CupA protester is detained by police during a demonstration by people demanding better public services and against the money spent on the World Cup soccer tournament in Sao Paulo, June 12, 2014. Nelson Antoine—AP United States: Protests over the death of unarmed black teenager Michael BrownTear gas reigns down on a woman kneeling in the street with her hands in the air after a demonstration over the killing of teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer on Aug. 17, 2014 in Ferguson. Scott Olson—Getty Images Turkey: Protest over the closure of Syria-Turkey border to stop the flow of refugeesKurdish protesters throw stones at Turkish soldiers during clashes near the Syrian border after Turkish authorities temporarily closed the border at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on Sept. 21, 2014. Bulent Kilic—AFP/Getty Images China: Pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong Protesters hold up their mobile phones during a protest near the Hong Kong government headquarters on Sept. 29, 2014. Dale de la Rey—AFP/Getty Images Burkina Faso: Anti-government protests Protesters take over the state TV podium in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, Oct. 30, 2014. Joe Penney—Reuters Mexico: Protests over the disappearance of 43 studentsDemonstrators set on fire a door of the National Palace in Mexico City, Nov. 8, 2014. Sasheka Gutierrez—EPA United States: Protests over the grand jury's decision not to bring charges in the death of Eric Garner A 'die-in' in New York's Grand Central Terminal, Dec. 3, 2014. Todd Heisler—The New York Times/Redux Mexico: Protests over indigenous rightsFarmer Agustin Gomez Perez, 21, runs engulfed in flames after he was lit on fire as a form of protest outside the Chiapas state legislature in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico, Dec. 5, 2014. Perez was demanding the release of his father, indigenous leader Florentino Gomez Giron, who was arrested last year on charges stemming from a series of demonstrations in 2011 that turned violent. Carlos Diaz Vazquez—AP More Must-Reads From TIME Meet the 2024 Women of the Year Greta Gerwig's Next Big Swing East Palestine, One Year After Train Derailment The Closers: 18 People Working to End the Racial Wealth Gap Long COVID Doesn’t Always Look Like You Think It Does Column: The New Antisemitism The Best Romantic Comedies to Watch on Netflix Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time