Tiril added: “Governments with underlying incentives to oppress their citizens were able to take advantage of the global health crisis to strengthen their political position through repression.
COVID-19 ensured that Governments could do this without bearing the costs of greater international and domestic pressure.”
The research found that governments who engaged in state violence against citizens pre-pandemic were:
10% more likely to enact lockdown and curfew policies, and
their policies were implemented 48 days earlier and kept in place for 23 more days than less repressive governments.
The findings also revealed empirical evidence to support the worry by the UN that some states were using emergency powers during the pandemic to crush dissent and extend their time in power–based on previous regime history.