- What do the people protesting want?
- How is that being expressed?
- What triggered the current outburst of activity?
- How is the other side presenting their case/spinning the matter?
- Who is trying to take advantage of the situation?
If you can answer all five of these questions, you have the basic information for what is going on. Just remember, people don't mass protest over nothing. It frequently means some basic need is not being met. The current issue in the US - and across the world - has to do with police brutality and the fact that to many, Black Lives do not matter even though they should (and no that is not debatable.)
Two and three are often linked. If your civil unrest has gone from peaceful to violent, something likely triggered it. What was that? While it has been triggered, there are always people trying to keep to the original path. Don't forget them. So what does the unrest look like? What are they doing?
Four is the other side, often the people in power. What do they think the issue is? What are they claiming the issue is? Is it an overreaction to one situation? Is it people just wanting free stuff? People not willing to sacrifice or learn their place? Remember, people don't act thinking they're being evil or not in the right, so how do they justify their side of things?
Finally, whenever you have conflict you'll have people trying to take advantage and do their own thing. Looters turning protests violent trying to make things look bad for one side - or just steal shit. People looking to make a name for themselves. People looking to profit in other ways. Who are the people playing opportunist, and what do they want?
Also consider those questions when looking at the real world. What do both sides want? How are they presenting it? Who is trying to twist it? Why? Who is trying to take advantage?