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Protest sounds in the age of coronavirus

One of the things we’ve noticed while following the changing soundscapes of the Covid-19 lockdown over the past couple of months is the tonal shift away towards some sounds of protest, unrest and discontent as the lockdown drags on, and people in some countries become disillusioned with the ways in which their government is responding.

So what does a coronavirus protest sound like?


Most notable among these is in Brazil, where Bolsonaro’s controversial handling of the crisis is provoking anger all over the country.

Sara Lana wrote to us from Belo Horizonte to say:

“Against Bolsonaro, people bang pans and scream from the windows of their apartments at night in downtown Belo Horizonte.

“The 15th day of protests in face of the crisis triggered by the Brazilian president after his actions while COVID-19 spreads across the country.”

Elsewhere in Sao Paulo, Michael Dees sent us this sound, describing “a protest against the president who was speaking on TV at the time.”


From La Paz, Daniel Bargach Mitre got in touch to report on the sounds of social unrest in Bolivia:

“In a context of social crisis, where, before the quarantine, the criminalization of protest and the disproportionate use of force by the transitory government of Bolivia was denounced, the police take to the streets to play RESISTIRE (I Will Survive)”.

Hong Kong

Even earlier on in the lockdown, some protests were being heard – for instance, in this sound from Ying Kit Lau in Hong Kong:

“On 7 February 2020, medical staff were on strike to protest against the government underestimating the spread of the coronavirus caused by travellers & refusing a blockade for mainland travellers entering Hong Kong.”

Who can say how the tone of lockdown sounds might shift even further as the weeks or months drag on? We’ll be following closely and reporting back as we receive submissions from around the world.