COVID-19 dominated but this is what else shaped the world in 2020

COVID-19 dominated but this is what else shaped the world in 2020
Copyright Euronews
By Euronews
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No-one could escape COVID-19 in 2020, but the pandemic was not the only event to have rocked the world in this year.


COVID-19 has dominated a rollercoaster year. But it wasn't the only event to reshape the world in the last 12 months.

Here's our look back at what to remember from 2020. Take a look at the most eye-catching footage in the video above.


No one could escape it.

The World Health Organization rang the alarm bell in February as the novel coronavirus swept across Asia and declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March.

Europe was at the epicentre of the global health crisis throughout the spring, when nearly all of humanity lived under some form of lockdown, grinding the world economy to a halt.

Parts of the continent are in the grips of a second wave, but the rollout of vaccines have given hope of a return to normality.

As of December 30, nearly 1.8 million people have died from COVID-19 while a further 81.1 million have been infected; according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Black Lives Matter

The death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis in May sparked a civil rights protest movement unseen on the other side of the pond since the 1960s, despite restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

European activists called for statues of controversial historical figures to be removed and for inquiries into alleged police brutality and/or systemic racism.

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Members of the George Floyd family march from the Lincoln Memorial to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial during the March on Washington, Friday Aug. 28, 2020.AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

US politics

Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, was acquitted by a Republican-controlled Senate of impeachment charges. Since his election in 2016, he had been dogged by accusations of abuse of power.

He failed, however, to win his reelection bid in November — and continues to denounce the results as rigged.

Joe Biden, 78, is to be the country's 46th President. He has appointed Kamala Harris as his Vice-President and nominated the most diverse cabinet the country has ever seen.

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
President-elect Joe Biden stands on stage with his wife Jill Biden Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster


The Brexit saga continued throughout 2020 — four years after British voters chose to divorce from the European Union.

Round after round of negotiations ended with both sides lamenting a lack of progress and blaming each other for the deadlock.

Talks went to the wire and a deal was eventually struck on December 24, just a week before the end of the transition period.

It was signed by EU chiefs Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel on December 30 and by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. British MPs approved it by 521 votes to 73. It still needs to be approved by MEPs.

AP Photo
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels (L) and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London sign the post-Brexit deal on December 30, 2020.AP Photo

Protests in Belarus, Hong Kong, Poland

Alexander Lukashenko, accused of being Europe's last dictator, claimed a landslide victory in the August 9 presidential election.

But the political opposition in Belarus, as well as the EU, UK and US, say the vote was rigged in Lukashenko's favour. They refuse to recognise the election outcome.


Since the ballot, pro-democracy protesters have taken to the streets every week in their thousands to denounce the vote.

Svetlana Tikhanouskaya, the main opposition candidate, fled to Lithuania and has been lobbying Western powers to impose harsh sanctions on the Belarusian regime.

Pro-democracy or anti-corruption protests have also been held in Bulgaria, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan and Hong Kong.

In Poland, tens of thousands repeatedly defied COVID-19 measures to protest the country's nearly total ban on abortion.

AP Photo/Sergei Grits
An historical Belarusian flag is waved over protesters as they gather after the Belarusian presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 9, 2020.AP Photo/Sergei Grits

Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and Ethiopia

Tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh flared up into the most violent altercation in decades.


At least 5,000 people have lost their lives and hundreds of thousands have been displaced.

The violence stopped on November 9 following the introduction of a Russian-brokered truce. The terms of the peace deal have seen Azerbaijan claim victory and fuelled resentment in Armenia, sparking anti-government protests.

Violence also erupted in Ethiopia where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed — the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize laureate — launched an offensive against the Tigray region after declaring the region's government, led by the Tigray's People's Liberation Front (TPLF), to be unlawful.

AP Photo
A soldier's helmet seen in a hospital damaged by shelling from Azerbaijan's artillery, in the town of Martakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, October 15, 2020.AP Photo

Lebanon explosion

A blast in the port of Beirut on August 4 claimed the lives of more than 200 people and injured over 6,500 more It also devastated the capital city.

The explosion, caused by the detonation of ammonium nitrate stored for years in unsafe conditions in a warehouse at the port, plunged the country into a new political and economic crisis, with protesters blaming the government of incompetence and corruption.

AP Photo/Thibault Camus
A rescue team surveys the site of this week's massive explosion in the port of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020.AP Photo/Thibault Camus

Iran-US tensions

Tensions between Iran and the US — which had ratcheted up since the 2016 election of Donald Trump and his subsequent decision to pull out of a landmark nuclear deal — increased further at the beginning the year after Washington killed a leading Iranian army official, General Qasem Soleimani, in a drone strike in Iraq.

Five days later, Iran's military shot down an international passenger flight, killing all 176 passengers and crew on board. Tehran, which had initially denied responsibility, admitted it had confused the plane with a cruise missile.

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