WATCH ABOVE: Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri surround and vandalize a police car – just one of the many dramatic images from protests in the small Midwestern town.
From Hong Kong to Ferguson, from Israel to Brazil, from the streets of Paris to the streets of Toronto – protesters of all stripes took to the streets once more in 2014.
And in so many cases, the greatest documentarian of this past year’s protests has been you.
Whether you were a bystander, a participant, an aspiring journalist or simply a curious citizen, your cellphone or home camera took viewers into the heart of protest movements around the world.
Maybe it was a statue tumbling to the ground in Ukraine, or the anger and confusion of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. Maybe it was the rather unique fertilizer protest in France, or perhaps a heated confrontation between pro and anti-Rob Ford supporters in Toronto.
In every instance, your camera captured these moments, and helped bring us closer to the story, breaking down the barriers of traditional newsgathering and bringing viewers into the heart of some of the world’s most powerful protests.
These are the most dramatic protest videos of 2014.
Police clash with Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri
As with the protests in Egypt’s Tahrir Square in 2011, the clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri are perhaps the most watched protests of the year.
The shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer in August sparked furious protests in the small Missouri community. These protests were renewed in November after a grand jury decision came back with no indictment against the officer in question.
Heated confrontations like the one seen below between police and protesters came to symbolize the deep unrest in the small Midwestern community.
In the days following the controversial decision, the world watched as angry protesters as well as looters clashed with a highly militarized police force, and the streets of Ferguson town more closely resembled a battlefield.
Protesters shut down the Brooklyn Bridge following Eric Garner grand jury decision
Two grand jury decisions in the space of a few weeks set off a firestorm of protests across the U.S., and stirred up a national conversation about race relations and the militarization of police forces.
Just a short while after the decision in the Michael Brown case, demonstrators took to the streets of New York City and other cities across the United States after a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict a police officer in the choking death of Eric Garner.
In this case, hundreds of protesters disrupted traffic over the Brooklyn Bridge in early December, while drivers sat patiently in their vehicles.
Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops in West Bank
2014 represented another year of anger and loss between Palestinians and Israelis, as Israel launched a controversial aerial and ground campaign designed to halt Hamas rocket attacks on its territory.
While that conflict may have ended in a cease-fire, clashes continue between Palestinians and Israelis over the many disputed religious sites in Jerusalem to which both sides lay claim.
In this video, Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops at a West Bank checkpoint during Friday prayers this past November, hurling rocks at Israeli soldiers who respond with tear gas and stun grenades.
Heated exchange at Calgary Gaza protest
Sometimes, the issues that drive protesters abroad also cause protests – even violent clashes – here in Canada.
That was the case this past July, when a protest in downtown Calgary about the conflict in the Gaza Strip turned violent.
Hundreds of people gathered in front of City Hall in support of Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza. However, a handful of Israeli supporters showed up, and a violent confrontation broke out.
String quintet plays Les Mis in middle of Hong Kong protest
For months, pro-democracy protesters have taken to the streets of Hong Kong’s densely commercial Mong Kok district in what has become known as the “Umbrella Protest”.
The protesters, mostly young college students, have opposed Beijing’s ruling that a committee stacked with pro-Beijing elites should screen candidates in the election – effectively means that Beijing can vet candidates before they go to a public vote. The result has seen sit-ins, marches, and repeated violent clashes between protesters, police, and pro-China supporters.
Yet amidst the weeks of tumult, perhaps the most striking image of Hong Kong’s “Umbrella Protest” is that of a string quintet, calmly playing the song, “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from the Broadway musical Les Miserables amidst the gathered thousands.
Farmers in France shower government offices in manure
You’d be hard pressed to find a more effective form of protest this year than the one used by angry farmers in France – at least from a sensory point of view.
French farmers dumped, sprayed, and shot manure onto government offices this past November to protest a European Union ban against polluting nitrates in natural fertilizers.
Anti-Russian protesters pull down giant statue of Lenin
A giant statue of Lenin was pulled down by jubilant crowds in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv this past September.
Thousands of people marched through the city waving Ukrainian flags before gathering at the massive monument, where previous attempts to pull it down were prevented by pro-Russian protestors, amid violent clashes in March and April.
“Ford Nation” supporters clash with anti-Ford protesters
For better or worse, the saga of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was one of the biggest news stories of 2014.
And Toronto’s controversial ex-mayor (along with his equally controversial brother) certainly stirred up lots of debate, both in the city and across Canada. Here’s a great example of the sort of passionate response the brothers Ford were capable of generating from their detractors and supporters alike.
While Doug Ford was inside the debate hall preparing for his first debate as a mayoral candidate following Rob’s cancer diagnosis, outside “Ford Nation” supporters got into a heated confrontation with some anti-Ford protesters.
World Cup demonstrators set busses on fire in Brazil
The 2014 FIFA World Cup brought plenty of excitement and patriotic revelry to Brazil, but it wasn’t without controversy either.
Protesters in Brazil felt the huge expense of the games would be better put addressing needs like improved public transit – and they let their feelings be known by lighting several busses on fire during raucous protests in Sau Paulo this past July.