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Food riot

Food riots may occur when there is a shortage and/or unequal distribution of food. Causes can be food price rises, harvest failures, incompetent food storage, transport problems, food speculation, hoarding, poisoning of food, or attacks by pests. Hence, the pathway between food related issues such as crop failure, price hike or volatility and an actual" riot” is often complex. Some argue that volatile and high food price are just part of a" perfect storm” combining with climate change, population growth, resource scarcity, and urbanization leading to social unrest. When the public becomes too desperate in such conditions, they may attack shops, farms, homes, or government buildings to attain bread or other staple foods such as grain or salt, as in the 1977 Egyptian bread riots. Often, it is more than an issue of hunger and the need to obtain bread for immediate caloric satisfaction; food riots are part of a larger social movement, such as the Russian revolution or the French revolution. Thus in places with low political freedom there is an increased likelihood for social unrest when food prices are volatile or suddenly rise. Historically, women have been heavily involved in leading food riots; food riots have thus served as a form of female political action even in societies without womens suffrage or other guaranteed political rights.


1917 Potato riots

The Potato riots in June-July 1917 was a popular uprising in the Dutch capital city Amsterdam that was caused by the food shortage in the Netherlands during World War I.


1989 riots in Argentina

The 1989 riots were a series of riots and related episodes of looting in stores and supermarkets in Argentina, during the last part of the presidency of Raul Alfonsin, between May and June 1989. The riots were caused by the rampant hyperinflation and food shortage, and were associated with legal protests and demonstrations. The first riots started in Rosario, the third-largest city in the country, when people demanded supermarkets to give away food; they quickly spread to other cities, specially in Greater Buenos Aires. The national government established a state of emergency. More than 40 people were arrested, and there were 14 dead 20 according to unofficial reports. Eventually President Alfonsin resigned, and president elect Carlos Menem took office six months in advance, in July.


2007 West Bengal food riots

The 2007 West Bengal food riots took place in West Bengal, India over shortage of food and widespread corruption in the public distribution system. The riots first happened in Burdwan, Bankura, and Birbhum districts but later spread to other districts. The riots started on 16 September 2007 in Radhamohanpur village in Bankura district. Three villagers were shot dead and more than 300 villagers were injured in riots. At least three ration distributors committed suicide. The State Government suspended 113 dealers and served show cause notices to 37 food inspectors. A Supreme Court of India appointed committee has found wide-spread corruption to be the root cause of the riots.


Boston Bread riot

The Boston Bread Riot was the last of a series of three riots by the poor of Boston, Massachusetts, between 1710 and 1713, in response to food shortages and high bread prices. The riot ended with minimal casualties.


1977 Egyptian bread riots

The Egyptian "bread riots" of 1977 affected most major cities in Egypt from 18–19 January 1977. The riots were a spontaneous uprising carried out by hundreds of thousands of lower-class people protesting World Bank and International Monetary Fund-mandated termination of state subsidies on basic foodstuffs. As many as 70 people were killed and over 550 injured in the protests, which only ceased with the deployment of the army and the re-institution of the subsidies.

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