Delphi Riots

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Delphi Riots
Part of Acadian Colonial War
Date May 2018
Location Delphi, Acadia
Result Riots suppressed by Acadian security forces
Territorial
changes
None
Belligerents
AcadiaFlag.png Republic of Acadia
AcadiaFlag.png Acadian Army
AcadiaFlag.png Gendarmerie
AcadiaFlag.png Various police forces
AcadiaFlag.png Acadian protesters
Strength
5,000 Delphi Police officers
2,500 Gendarmes
2,500 National Police officers
20,000 soldiers
150,000 protesters
Casualties
46 injured 57 killed

The Delphi Riots were a series of protests and riots against the Acadian government throughout the period of one week in May 2018. Angered at the increasing authoritarianism under the Acadian government, which intensified during the regime of Brant Esser, thousands of Acadians took to the streets in what was the largest anti-government demonstration in Acadian history. Additionally, the riots occurred at the same time as the Acadian Colonial War, during which Acadia struggled to maintain control of many of its colonies, who were up in rebellion.

After five days of attempted suppression of the demonstrations by the various Acadian police forces, thousands of troops entered Delphi to suppress the riots under the orders of the Minister of Defense. Acadian security forces reportedly killed 57 people and injured dozens more during the crackdown on the riots, an action that drew harsh condemnation from the Antarctic community, though the events were soon forgotten. When the events came to light again during the Achadia Crisis, Acadia promised to pay 2 million Fish as reparations to the families of those killed.

Background[edit]

Though the Acadian Revolution had occurred under the pretext that the Puffish government was suppressing liberties in Acadia, the new Acadian Constitution written after the war failed to include the freedoms of assembly, the press, and speech, along with numerous other freedoms. Those who had been present at the Constitutional conference later would later say that they chose not to include certain rights in the Constitution because they felt that it would endanger the sovereignty of the new Republic if people could so openly challenge the government.

Throughout the years in Acadia, thousands of political opposition and critics of the government have been arrested for various crimes related to that. Additionally, numerous "morality laws" have been passed throughout the years under the pretext of "limiting the spread of immorality and degeneracy in the Republic of Acadia", laws that have limited even more freedoms. Many Acadian political prisoners have been locked up in harsh labor camps in the Acadian colonies, while many others that choose to have served in penal units in the Acadian Defense Forces.

Evidence of Acadian war crimes committed in Macradonia came to light after Dorkugal reestablished control over Macradonia in 2015, but these allegations were swept under the rug and fervently denied by the Acadian government. In the United Provinces, Robert Smith, the King of Snowiny during the invasion of Macradonia, was arrested for war crimes, and his brother, the Acadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, had attempted to release him, but failed. This arrest also made many Acadian politicians, notably Brant Esser, fear they would be next, though Esser had no involvement in the crimes.

Additionally, many Acadian youth were also concerned by the increasing number of guns in Acadian society, and feared for their safety. The Acadian constitution had included the right to bear arms in order for the populace to be able to defend their country in times of war, and this led Acadia to have one of the highest gun ownership rates in Antarctica. Many students had organized peaceful marches and protests in the previous months before the actual riots, including an attempted march on the capital of Delphi that was shut down by Acadian police before it reached the city.

Initial resistance to the Esser regime had developed soon after Brant Esser took office in January 2015, with protests calling for the impeachment of Esser breaking out a few months later, although they were quickly suppressed by Acadian police for being unauthorized by the government. For the rest of the 2015 and most of 2016, public opinion remained mostly in favor of Brant Esser, until protests began breaking out again in November 2016 in response to the Acadian exit from the Free Republic Union, which were once again shut down by Acadian police for being unauthorized.

In his address to the South Pole Council in April 2017, Antarctican Vice President Happyface141 called for Acadians to take to the streets to demand the resignation of Brant Esser, who he called "the biggest war monger this nation has ever seen", referring to the United States of Antarctica, although no major protests ever broke out. This address by Happyface141 had been in response to the Acadian aggression against East Pengolia and Dorkugal, member states of the Free Republic Union, which almost led to war with the United States of Antarctica.

The riots[edit]

In early May 2018, around 50,000 people marched through the streets of Delphi towards Liberation Square in downtown Delphi, which was dedicated to the heroes of the Acadian Revolution that freed the country from Puffish rule, calling for the resignation of several members of the Acadian government, including President Brant Esser and Prime Minister Ryan Crosby, among others. The protesters soon occupied the square and the streets surrounding it, which were soon surrounded by Delphi Police, who unsuccessfully tried to disperse the protesters from the area.

The number of protesters soon grew, and by afternoon the next day had overrun multiple Delphi Police blockades around the area, meaning that they now directly threatened the government district of Delphi, which housed the headquarters of virtually every ministry of the Acadian government. The National Police was sent into Delphi to reinforce the Delphi Police, and President Brant Esser was informed of the situation. Later that day, Brant Esser gave an address from the Presidential Palace denouncing the protesters as "communists" and "traitors to the Republic".

By the next day, the protests, which at this point were considered riots by many independent media outlets, had spread through most of downtown Delphi and the surrounding areas, with the police finding it increasingly difficult to contain the increasing number of protesters. The number of protesters had grown to about 85,000, making it the largest anti-government demonstration in Acadian history. With this, Brant Esser ordered the deployment of thousands of Gendarmes into Delphi to aid the Delphi Police and National Police in handling the riots.

Later that day, rioters attempted to storm the Ministry of the Interior headquarters, but were stopped by a team of riot police that had been deployed in front of the building to protect it. That same day, separate groups of rioters attempted to storm the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Justice headquarters as well, but these all failed due to a heavy presence of riot police that were present in front of the headquarters. Additional riot police units were sent to protect many different government landmarks that lay close to the area of the riots as well.

As they had done with most previous unauthorized demonstrations, Acadian police deployed tear gas and water cannons against the protesters to disperse the crowds, but despite their usage, the protesters were still able to overwhelm the police in many places due to their sheer numbers. By the third day of the riots, President Brant Esser's military advisers began advising him to declare martial law in Delphi and deploy the Acadian Defense Forces to crush the riots, but Esser hesitated, stating that he didn't want Acadian troops to fire on their own people.

By the fourth day of the riots, the size of the rioters had grown to almost 150,000, and despite a heavy police usage of batons, tear gas, and water cannons to calm the riots, the riots showed no signs of calming, having to virtually all of Delphi, except for the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city, which were defended by large groups of police. The riots disrupted the Acadian economy, heavily dependent on shipping and finance, as the rioters had occupied the Delphi financial district and prevented virtually all business from taking place there.

Throughout the course of the riots, dozens of shops and businesses in Delphi were looted and burned by the rioters, and dozens more cars were burned as well, including many Acadian law enforcement cars. These actions, unprecedented on such a large scale in Acadia, were harshly condemned by members of the Acadian government, with one Member of Parliament quoted as calling them "anarchists with no sense of decency and law and order". The Acadian state media also highlighted these actions to show the rioters as being unreasonable to draw public opinion away from the riots.

On the fifth day of the riots, angry from the lack of any government response to their demands, the looting and burning was intensified, with an incident where rioters threw molotov cocktails at the police. By night, a large crowd of around 20,000 people armed with molotov cocktails and large sticks gathered in front of the Acadian Parliament, having broken through another police blockade, and began taunting the small number of guards outside. At the time, the Acadian Parliament only had about 15 Republican Guards and 50 riot police stationed inside and outside of the building.

President Brant Esser was informed of the direct threat to the Acadian Parliament, and the Ministry of the Interior and Republican Guard headquarters were both informed of the large presence of rioters in front of the Acadian Parliament as well. As the rioters began descending on the Acadian Parliament, which at the time had many of the Members of Parliament still inside, the commander of the Republican Guards at the Parliament asked the Republican Guard headquarters if the security there was authorized to use deadly force, at which the Republican Guard members responded with a "yes".

The first backup police for the Acadian Parliament, two armored vehicles carrying 10 riot police officers each, soon arrived at the Acadian Parliament, and it was a few minutes later that the first shots were fired. With the sound of gunshots, many of the rioters retreated, while others ran towards the police, although their diminished numbers were quickly forced back by the police. Police later identified 9 rioters to have died of gunshot wounds during the attempted storming of the Acadian Parliament, but it is unknown how many were wounded.

Word of the police use of deadly force at the Acadian Parliament quickly spread across Acadia, despite heavy government censorship during the riots, and public opinion began to turn against the Acadian government. President Brant Esser's military advisers pressured him to declare martial law and deploy the Acadian Defense Forces, but Brant Esser wished to double the number of National Police and Gendarmerie instead, still not wanting to see his people be massacred. In the end, the Minister of Defense signed the order and martial law was declared inside the city of Delphi.

Student involvement in the riots[edit]

Acadian students and adolescents in general had been born and grew up during the period of the Republic of Acadia, which coincided with the rise of technology, and thus unlike their parents, were more angry about the Acadian government censorship. Many Acadian adolescents began to question why their fellow adolescents across the strait enjoyed complete freedom of speech and were free to speak out their opinions, whereas on their side of the strait, any negative comment against the Acadian government would've landed them in major trouble with the government.

Unlike their parents, who had helped liberate Acadia from Puffish rule about 18 years earlier, Acadian adolescents didn't understand why Acadian society had such a prevalent use of guns, and often feared for their safety. The right to own firearms was included in the Acadian constitution, and Acadia had one of the highest gun ownership rates in Antarctica as well. Supporters of gun control, while they weren't arrested, were often branded as "fascists", "communists", and "Naughtzees" by the Acadian government and some Acadians, who saw guns as an insurance of Acadian sovereignty.

Around 100,000 Acadian students skipped school during a day in February to attend a march to the capital of Delphi to call for more gun control, but Acadian police blocked the protesters' route into Delphi and peacefully dispersed them as it was an unauthorized protest. Although the attempted march ended in disappointment, those who planned the riots stated that "this is not the end", while those in the Acadian government commended the Delphi Police "for their actions in shutting down a fascist demonstration designed to take away Acadian sovereignty".

When the riots started, Acadian authorities were well aware of the rioters' primary use of technology to spread word of the riots and plan additional demonstrations against the Acadian government. To stop this from spreading into the schools, Acadian police implemented a temporary policy where students were forced to hand in their phones each morning to prevent them from supporting the riots and receive them again at the end of the day. This policy was wildly unpopular with the students, with many simply walking out of class in protest while others just skipped school completely.

Crackdown[edit]

On the sixth day, the first convoy of Acadian army soldiers pressed into the city to the sound of air sirens, facing little initial resistance from the rioters. The soldiers had orders to shoot anyone who purposefully blocked the path of the army entering Delphi and to shoot anyone who disobeyed a direct order by the soldiers. Within hours, there were multiple reports that Acadian soldiers had shot rioters who had been looting stores. The army quickly moved to secure the Acadian government ministries, encountering a few rioters along the way, but most encounters ended peacefully.

Most of the rioters had believed that the soldiers were only there to scare the rioters from rioting and disperse them, but upon reports of the first Acadian soldiers entering the city firing on some rioters, many began to disperse in separate riots to escape the soldiers. By night on the sixth day, at least 15,000 soldiers were already in Delphi, with more units planned to enter the city the next day if the riots continued. Despite many rioters fleeing, the riots still continued in many parts of Delphi, with rioters resisting the military with blockades and molotov cocktails.

With the rioters continuing to resist the Acadian soldiers, an additional 5,000 soldiers entered Delphi on the seventh day of the riots, this time accompanied by several tanks. The seventh day is often considered the bloodiest day of the riots, as 37 of the 57 rioters that were killed by the Acadian Defense Forces during the crackdown on the riots were killed on the seventh day. Although the Acadian state media had heavily censored the riots, Westernews and users of many social media apps often showed graphic photos and videos of the riots to showcase what was going on in Acadia.

The eighth day of the riots had reports of Acadian soldiers firing on rioters, but no one was recorded to have been killed on this day. By the eighth day, the riots had mostly died down, with Acadian soldiers arresting hundreds of stragglers who had not fled the riots. Later that day, President Brant Esser gave a speech in which he denounced the "communists who have tried to destroy everything we have worked for together as a country and deprive Acadia of its sovereignty", and condemned Antarctican Vice President Happyface for trying to overthrow the Acadian government.

International Reaction[edit]

  • CandviaFlag.png Candvia - Candvia's Foreign Ministry condemned the violence that took place on the streets of Delphi and said that "there is never an excuse for committing senseless violence against innocent penguins going about their daily lives".
  • NewUnitedProvincesFlag.png United Provinces - President Simon McClark called for order and calm to be restored in Acadia and urged the Acadian government to agree to dialogue with the opposition and to listen to their grievances. President McClark condemned all acts of violence that were committed during the riots.

Aftermath[edit]

A total of around 10,000 people were arrested during the course of the riots, some of which were freed, with many being forced to do community service, while many others were locked up in the Acadian colonial prisons for attempted rebellion against the Acadian government. This came to light during the Achadia Crisis, and after much foreign criticism, Acadia promised that it would release many of the people arrested during the riots by January 2019, a promise which the Acadian government kept, and after they were released, many of the former prisoners fled to countries such as Shops.

The Acadian government heavily censored the events of the riots to prevent the rest of the Acadian populace from knowing what was going on and possibly rising up against the rioters as well, with the Acadian state media going to the point of spreading false information by saying that the rioters called for Acadia to be taken over by East Pengolia. This worked to an extent, as the events of the riots remained mostly unknown to most of the Acadian population and even the Antarctic population as well, but the prevalence of social media allowed more people to know about the riots.

During the Achadia Crisis, the events of the Delphi Riots came into the international spotlight again, with many countries, including Acadia's allies in the Western Union and even Acadia's allies outside of the Western Union such as Castilla and Francterre, criticizing Acadia for its penguin rights abuses and use of deadly force during the crackdown on the riots. In response to the international pressure, the Acadian government reached a settlement with the families of the 57 people killed in the Delphi Riots to pay each of them 1 million Acadian francs, or 2 million Fish. The international pressure, plus the political fallout of the Delphi Riots, culminated in Brant Esser making his decision not to run for a second term in the December 2019 presidential elections.

Trivia[edit]

See Also[edit]