The next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic could be a flare-up of social unrest across major Western cities as millions have lost their jobs, economies have crashed into depressions, and the military is being called up to maintain order.
The Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned that riots could be imminent in low-income neighborhoods as extreme wealth inequality has left households unprepared and without a cash buffer to weather the economic downturn.
As we’ve noted before, many Western households were already stretched thin before the shutdowns began, with little savings, insurmountable debts, and the lack of access to proper healthcare. Now, these folks, which many have been laid off from gig-economy and service sector jobs, have zero income and could be emotionally motivated to hit the streets and protest.
IFRC president Francesco Rocca warned on Friday during a press conference that social unrest could be imminent in Italy, reported Reuters.
“We have a lot of people who are living very marginalized, in the so-called black hole of society… In the most difficult neighborhoods of the biggest cities, I am afraid that in a few weeks, we will have social problems,” Rocca said.
“This is a social bomb that can explode at any moment, because they don’t have any way to have an income,” he said, whose agency deploys volunteers across Europe, including in Italy, Spain, and France.
He warned that the largest Western cities have only a ‘few weeks’ before social unrest is seen.
As for the US, President Trump has been deploying National Guard units across the country to fight the virus, or a perfect cover to prepare for Martial law-style shutdowns across some areas where the virus is hard-hitting.
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