Rice Riots of 1697
The Rice Riots of 1697 was a series of riots across primarily Sanilla and Amarra during 1697 and 1698 in Sanama that began on 3 Puwha Telherali (XIII) 1697 in Awhara. Originating in peaceful protests, those protests turned more and more violent in the face of state repression and a general radicalisation. The riots were triggered by a sharp increase in rice prices due to supply issues. Volatile oil prices disrupted road based transport, which was the main mode of transportation for rice still in 1697. This coupled with high unemployment, in certain areas as high as 30-35 percent, general economic crisis, and general discontent with the center-right government, triggered the riots that quickly spread between smaller cities. When the riots came to Niyi and Fatehpur Sikri, they gained a Socialist edge. The Peoples' Front, agitating against what they labeled a "corrupt and undemocratic government", seized the opportunity and channeled the riots towards the national government. Workers and farmers' marches were organised from Niyi and Fatehpur Sikri towards Semisa City with the intent of forcing the government to leave office. The government, still a transitional regime after the election, lacked powers to address the issues raised. On 18 Puwha Pakali (III) 1698 an incident occurred on Malliki Tosha Plaza in Niyi, when a military unit fired into a crowd of protesters. The incident caused widespread outcry and anger, with Keysa Nur Pinito Caprici promising a "full investigation". The Rice Riots are generally considered to be one of the main triggers for the 1697 Sanaman attempted military coup d'état and transitioned into the Sanaman Civil War by Puwha Kawlapali (IV) 1698.
The Rice Riots, initially peaceful but later marred by riots and widespread looting, demonstrated the inability of local law enforcement, the Kalisa Rrumëli and other agencies to maintain the semblance of public order in the urban areas. To quell the disorder the government ordered the deployment of the military. Despite the military doing everything in their power to avoid civilian casualties, by firing into the air and using less-than-lethal munitions, casualties inevitably did occur. In the military, only military police units have any training in law enforcement, while regular troops do not. When faced with riots where some participants were armed, small arms being common on Benacia, finally one of these events, on 18 Puwha Pakali (III) 1698, resulted in a member of the Sanaman Army being killed. As a reflex, the unit the soldier belonged to fired back, into the crowd, resulting in a massacre with 31 civilians dead, dubbed the Malliki Tosha Plaza Massacre. Coverage was extensive and instantaneous, and condemnation widespread, both from abroad and within the country. The Sanaman Armed Forces downplaying the death toll in official reports and coverage by pro-government media only served to inflame popular sentiment further. Large swaths of the urban population that before the massacre was on the fence about supporting the People's Front started to gravitate towards the coalition, abandoning the more established Llusan parties. Some troops deserted, taking their equipment with them, while the People's Front in general and the SLF(r) in particular organised neighbourhood self-defence committees. A sharp increase in the recruitment of activists to the more extreme parties on both the left and the right led to the formation of militias aligned with the PF and the Democratic Humanist Party respectively. These local militias and committees organised further and took over sizeable parts of the urban and suburban areas across Sanama.