March 21, 2016

Tear Gas Maps 2015

Everyday tear gas is used around the world, from Brazil to Bahrain, from Thailand to the Occupied Territories of Palestine. Yet, while journalists file news stories of tear gas deployments, there is no national or international data recorded on its use or its effects.

While researchers and campaign groups work hard to raise awareness of the true effects of tear gas, its health effects remain undetermined and its death toll ill-defined. Data on tear gas is dispersed across nations, suppressed by governments, and spun by corporate manufacturers with a vested interest in keeping sales figures high. Largely unregulated and unmonitored, the for-profit transnational trade in tear gas continues to raise legal questions, as people around the world face its repressive and often violent effects.

This Mapping the Media project seeks to aggregate incident reports on tear gassing in the media in efforts to make public the frequency and motivations for its use. All recorded location and text data that is visualised on these maps is derived from news reports via a google news alert in English. While it provides an overall picture, the data captured is incomplete, as many incidences go unreported, or are documented but not caught by the google news filter.

These maps form part of a research project led by Dr. Anna Feigenbaum, Senior Lecturer in Digital Storytelling at Bournemouth University. The 2015 mapping was done by Dr. Feigenbaum and Laura McKenna. Our 2013 maps were designed by Matt K Ellis using data collected by Dr. Feigenbaum.

The Maps 2015

Incident Map – Dig into the Details

Tear gas is used around the world to disperse people and repress protest. To get more information on incidents of tear gas use, click on the location point and read a summary of the news report.  


Cluster Map – Who are the Heaviest Users?

Israel’s use of tear gas in the Occupied Territories remains the most frequent of any country’s use of force. Also in the top ten: Turkey, India, France, South Africa, Nigeria, Greece, the USA and Uganda.


Mass Tear Gassings over the Year

This time lapse map shows the rise and fall of tear gas incidents as they spread around the world in 2015. Peaks often indicate a time of unrest or turmoil. In 2015 some of these peaks included Uganda’s elections, migration at French and Greek borders, repression in Turkey, austerity protests in Lebanon, and student protest in South Africa.