How 5 Revolutions Got Their Names

By Zirulnick, Ariel | The Christian Science Monitor, January 19, 2011 | Go to article overview

How 5 Revolutions Got Their Names


Zirulnick, Ariel, The Christian Science Monitor


Questions are cropping up about the appropriateness of calling Tunisia's uprising the "Jasmine Revolution" - stemming from the fact that the term has been used in reference to Syria in 2005 and even the path that brought ousted Tunisian President Ben Ali to power. But the moniker could stick, at least partially because it's become a tradition of sorts to name the revolutions of the 2000s after colors and flowers and even household items. Here's an overview of some of the popular revolutions - and their nicknames - that preceded Tunisia's ... whatever you want to call it:

Questions are cropping up about the appropriateness of calling Tunisia's uprising the "Jasmine Revolution" - stemming from the fact that the term has been used in reference to Syria in 2005 and even the path that brought ousted Tunisian President Ben Ali to power. But the moniker could stick, at least partially because it's become a tradition of sorts to name the revolutions of the 2000s after colors and flowers and even household items. Here's an overview of some of the popular revolutions - and their nicknames - that preceded Tunisia's ... whatever you want to call it:

#5 Bulldozer Revolution - Yugoslav Republic (Serbia), 2000

The uprising credited with opening the door to other democratic revolutions in Soviet republics in the 2000s is the Bulldozer Revolution, which overthrew Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in 2000 (The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was later renamed Serbia and Montenegro).

The protests were a response to Mr. Milosevic's political maneuvering to secure another term as president. The opposition parties rallied to run an opposition candidate who could beat Milosevic and declared victory in the election. When the electoral commission said there would need to be a runoff because neither Milosevic nor the opposition won a majority, demands intensified for Milosevic step down. He refused.

A general strike and widespread protests commenced, with people coming to Belgrade from all over the country. They stormed the parliament, overwhelming the police stationed there and setting part of the parliament building on fire. The opposition candidate declared victory by the end of the day, and Milosevic resigned.

The name comes from a famous but factually questionable incident in the protests, in which one protester used a bulldozer to storm the parliament building.

#4 Rose Revolution - Georgia, 2003

The most impressive thing about Georgia's Rose Revolution, which happened in 2003, may be that according to BBC, no one was injured or killed. The protesters fought with roses, which they gave to the government forces who were in place to fight back the protesters.

The unrest began after allegedly fraudulent parliamentary elections. The opposition accused the victors of vote-rigging and stealing the election, and took to the streets. They demanded that then-President Eduard Shevardnadze, who had led the country for more than 30 years, resign. Mr. Shevadnadze refused, and deployed soldiers.

When Shevardhadze attempted to open a new session of parliament, protesters stormed parliament as well. The man who claimed to be the rightfully elected president was rushed out of parliament and later resigned. Opposition leader Mikhail Saakashvili was elected in his place.

The Rose Revolution is often cited as inspiration for Ukraine's Orange Revolution.

#3 Orange Revolution - Ukraine, 2004

In 2004, a disputed presidential runoff in Ukraine led to widespread, ongoing protests, sit-ins, and strikes that formed the "Orange Revolution. …

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