Growing Protests For Resignation Of Israeli PM Netanyahu

A protester clad in mask due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic stands holding a sign reading in English “Bibi let my people go” during a demonstration against the Israeli government near the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem on July 25, 2020. Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP

 

“We won’t leave until Bibi leaves.” Israel’s struggle to contain the coronavirus has stirred deep-seated resentment towards Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and protests demanding his resignation are growing by the week. 

As the Shabbat rest-day was ending on Saturday evening, thousands of demonstrators headed towards Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence, the main site for protests that have taken place in multiple cities.

Some demonstrators branded Netanyahu — who has been indicted with bribery, fraud and breach of trust — as corrupt, while others condemned a lack of coherence in the government’s response to the pandemic.

For Tamir Gay-Tsabary, who travels each day to the Jerusalem protests with his wife Tami from southern Israel, coronavirus was “a trigger” that brought renewed focus to Netanyahu’s leadership faults.

The pandemic made people “understand that he doesn’t care (about) Israel, he just cares for himself,” the 56-year-old sales manager told AFP.

Netanyahu won praise for his initial response to the virus.

His government’s quick decisions in March to curb travel and impose a lockdown brought the daily case-count to a trickle by early May.

But an economic re-opening that began in late April has led to an explosion in transmission in the country of about 9 million people, with daily COVID-19 tallies ranging between 1,000 and 2,000 cases in recent weeks.

Anti-government protests that initially included a few hundred people in Tel Aviv, now regularly count several thousand there and in Jerusalem.

Reflecting on the movement, Einav Schiff of the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper said it began in response to “a premature victory celebration for having defeated the coronavirus”.

That false victory “morphed into a healthcare and economic failure, which has left a severe crisis of confidence between the public and the government in its wake,” he said.

 No ‘plan’ 

In response to rising cases, Netanyahu’s centre-right coalition has re-imposed economically painful restrictions, including targeting shops and markets.

It has also approved additional relief measures, notably cash deposits to all citizens.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu

Protester Amit Finkerstin said the government’s recent moves reveal it does not “have any plan,” making it impossible for people to prepare for the future.

The 27-year-old waitress, currently unemployed because of the pandemic, pointed to restaurant closures as evidence of the policy chaos.

On July 17, the government announced restaurants would mainly be limited to delivery and takeaway.

Four days later, parliament overturned that decision. Then the government passed a law allowing it to bypass parliament on coronavirus restrictions, casting further uncertainty over the sector.

“One day yes one day no,” Finkerstin said. “People can’t earn any money.”

The government’s plan to send at least 750 shekels ($220) to every citizen has been criticised by some economists as a knee-jerk response to mounting economic suffering in the place of smart, targeted aid.

Finkerstin accused the government of giving everyone cash “just to shut our mouth up.”

 ‘Something is happening’ 

Netanyahu has taken responsibility for re-opening the economy too soon but said he was seeking a tricky balance between protecting livelihoods and limiting viral transmission, a challenge faced by many leaders.

A protester holds up a sign reading in English “Bibi Netanyahu & Viktor Orban, same shit, the different name” during a demonstration against the Israeli government near the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem on July 25, 2020. Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP

He has also acknowledged the financial pain felt by many in a country where unemployment currently exceeds 20 per cent, compared to 3.4 per cent in February, when Israel recorded its first COVID-19 case.

But, in a series of tweets, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister has also sought to undermine the protests as a product of the “anarchist left” and accused the media of exaggerating their size.

In a July 19 tweet that dismissed the protests as an “embarrassment and a disgrace,” Netanyahu highlighted the presence of a Palestinian flag at one rally, saying “the secret is out,” about the movement.

Despite those dismissals, Schiff insisted that “something is happening” in the protest movement known as “black flag”.

“We can all hear, see and mainly feel it,” he wrote on Sunday.

“It isn’t clear yet whether this is a full-fledged earthquake or whether it is merely a tremor that will ultimately pass, but it’s everywhere.”

Israel’s last major protest movement — 2011 demonstrations over the rising cost of living — fizzled without large-scale impact.

AFP

UN Urges ‘Moratorium’ On Facial Recognition Tech Use In Protests

(FILES) In this file photo, The United Nations flag is seen during the Climate Action Summit 2019 at the United Nations General Assembly Hall on September 23, 2019, in New York City. Ludovic MARIN / AFP.

 

The UN human rights chief called Thursday for a “moratorium” on the use of facial recognition technology during peaceful protests, stressing that it could increase discrimination against people of African descent and other minorities.

Michelle Bachelet’s appeal came as her office published a report about the impact of new technologies on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of assemblies, including peaceful protests.

“There should be a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology in the context of peaceful protests, until states meet certain conditions including human rights due diligence before deploying it,” Bachelet said in a statement.

The report was requested by the United Nations Human Rights Council two years ago, but it comes as demonstrations have erupted in a number of countries.

READ ALSO: EU Body Recommends Use Of Remdesivir To Treat COVID-19

“New technologies can be used to mobilise and organise peaceful protests, form networks and coalitions, and help people to be better informed about demonstrations and the reasons they are happening, thus driving social change,” Bachelet said.

But, she stressed, “as we have seen, they can be — and are being — used to restrict and infringe on protesters’ rights, to surveil and track them, and invade their privacy.”

The UN report pointed out that technology-enabled surveillance had been a major factor in shrinking civic space in a range of countries, with some states using intrusive online surveillance and the hacking of social media accounts used by protest organisers and demonstrators themselves.

It voiced particular concern over facial recognition technology, “which allows for the automated identification, surveillance and tracking of protesters.”

Facial recognition has numerous uses that could simplify people’s lives, as seen with Apple using it to unlock smartphones.

But the technology has a dark side, with facial recognition integrated into China’s massive public surveillance system and its social credit experiment, where even minor infractions of public norms can result in sanctions.

As protests about police violence and racism spread across the United States, pressure mounted on the tech firms behind the technology.

Microsoft and Amazon announced they would suspend sales of facial recognition software to police forces, while IBM said it would quit the business.

– ‘Amplify discrimination’ –

Thursday’s report warned that the use of facial recognition technology had left many people feeling wary of demonstrating in public places or publicly expressing their views for fear they could be identified, with negative consequences.

“Moreover, facial recognition technology may also perpetuate and amplify discrimination, including against Afro-descendants and other minorities,” the rights office warned.

Protesters have marched in a number of countries in 2019 and this year on issues including racial discrimination, as with the recent global protests over the killing of George Floyd by a US police officer who has since been charged with murder.

“As people gather worldwide to protest against racism, including by law enforcement officials, the right to peaceful assembly has never been more important,” Bachelet said.

“Facial recognition should not be deployed in the context of peaceful protests without essential safeguards regarding transparency, data protection, and oversight in place.”

AFP

Banditry: Katsina Youths Stage Protest Against Killings

 

 

Residents of Katsina, especially youths have taken to the major streets in the state capital to protest against the renewed bandit attacks resulting in the loss of innocent lives and properties in the state.

The peaceful protest tagged ‘Stop the bloodshed’ drew members from a coalition of Northern groups in conjunction with six relevant groups, including some civil society associations in the state.

This comes barely a week after bandits numbering over 200, armed with sophisticated weapons reportedly killed over 50 villagers across eight communities in Faskari Local Government Area of the state.

In a visit to Kangiwa Square on Tuesday, the venue of the protest, Channels Television observed that all the major streets linking to the area were barricaded by the police and other security operatives with political thugs attempting to hijack the protest.

In his remarks, the Commissioner of Police, Sanusi Buba, described the move as peaceful but said that most of the protesters are turning the truth upside down looking at the way and manner they are exaggerating the situation.

READ ALSO: We Will Defend Our Youths Against Rape, Domestic Violence – Minister

The police boss also reiterated the commitment of the State Command to effectively fight the menace of banditry in the state.

Similarly, the Protest Coordinator, Jamilu Charanchi told reporters that before undergoing the protest, so many undertakings have been made with relevant authorities to ensure hitch-free deliberations.

Charanchi noted that the protest was necessary following renewed bandit attacks across the nine frontline LGAs of the state.

He, therefore, called on both the Federal and state government to tackle the situation to prevent further loss of lives.

UK PM Johnson Announces Inequality Review After Anti-Racism Protests

PM Johnson Says UK Anti-Racism Protests 'Hijacked By Extremists'
In this file photo taken on April 12, 2020 A handout image released by 10 Downing Street, shows Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he delivers a television address after returning to 10 Downing Street after being discharged from St Thomas’ Hospital, in central London on April 12, 2020. Pippa FOWLES / 10 Downing Street / AFP.

 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday announced a government review into “all aspects of inequality” following a wave of anti-racism protests in Britain, but was accused of using it to delay real action.

Johnson said there had been “huge progress” in tackling racism “but there is much more that we need to do, and we will”.

“It is time for a cross-governmental commission to look at all aspects of inequality — in employment, in health outcomes, in academic and all other walks of life,” he wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Britain has been rocked by protests against racial discrimination, some of them violent, following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, as he was arrested by police in the United States.

In a broadcast interview, Johnson said he wanted to “change the narrative so we stop the sense of victimisation and discrimination”.

READ ALSO: Norway Suspends Virus-Tracing App After Privacy Concerns

“We stop the discrimination, we stamp out racism, and we start to have a real sense of expectation of success.”

But David Lammy, justice spokesman for the main opposition Labour party, said the lack of detail about the new review suggested it “was written on the back of a fag (cigarette) packet yesterday to assuage the Black Lives Matter protest”.

He said the government should focus on implementing the recommendations of numerous reviews already completed, including one by Lammy himself about discrimination in criminal justice.

“Get on with the action, legislate, move!” he urged Johnson in an interview with BBC radio.

“Black people aren’t playing victims, as Boris indicates, they are protesting precisely because the time for review is over and the time for action is now.”

– Tear down the past –

During an anti-racism protest in the city of Bristol, demonstrators pulled down a statue to local slave trader Edward Colston, while in London, a statue to World War II leader Winston Churchill was defaced.

The toppling of Colston’s statue sparked moves by institutions across the country to remove or review monuments to Britain’s colonial past.

But it also drew condemnation from politicians as well as public anger, particularly after Churchill’s statue outside parliament was boarded up to protect it from further protests.

Self-styled “patriots” backed by far-right groups took to the streets in London on Saturday, some of them claiming to defend Churchill’s statue.

Violent clashes broke out and 113 people were arrested, while 23 police officers suffered minor injuries at the hands of people Johnson condemned as “thugs”.

A 28-year-old man was jailed for 14 days on Monday after he pleaded guilty to urinating next to a memorial to a police officer killed in a 2017 attack on parliament.

Andrew Banks admitted one charge of outraging public decency. Photographs of the act caused outrage. His lawyer said he was “ashamed by his action”.

Johnson has written a biography about Churchill and defended him as a “hero”, despite claims his policies led to the deaths of millions of people in a famine in the Indian state of Bengal in 1943.

“We need to tackle the substance of the problem, not the symbols. We need to address the present, not attempt to rewrite the past,” he wrote.

But he added: “Rather than tear down the past, why not add some of the men and women — most often BAME (black, Asian, and minority ethnic) — who helped to make our modern Commonwealth and our modern world? Isn’t that a more cheerful approach?”

Lammy said the statues were a distraction, asking why Johnson was arguing to keep Churchill’s statue when no serious public figure had called for it to go.

“They want a culture war because they want to distract from the central issue,” he said.

AFP

Lebanon President To Discuss Security After Days Of Protests

Anti-government protesters hurl rocks at Lebanese security forces, under the Fuad Shehab bridge known as the Ring, during a demonstration against dire economic conditions, in the capital Beirut, late on June 12, 2020. ANWAR AMRO / AFP.

 

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun was due to convene the country’s top security council on Monday after days of angry protests over a deepening economic crisis.

Hundreds of demonstrators clashed with security forces at the weekend across the Mediterranean nation whose currency has collapsed amid the worst financial crisis since Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war.

Relative calm returned on Sunday evening, with protesters holding a peaceful rally in Beirut while dozens marched to a central square in the northern city of Tripoli, AFP reporters said.

That came after three nights of violence in which demonstrators, angered by sky-rocketing prices and the government’s apparent inability to tackle the crisis, had blocked highways and scuffled with security forces.

In Tripoli, young men attacked banks and shops and threw rocks at security forces who responded with rubber bullets and tear gas. Medical services reported dozens of injured.

The latest wave of demonstrations come almost eight months after the start of a mass protest movement over Lebanon’s crumbling economy and perceived official corruption.

The Lebanese lira plumbed new lows on Thursday, hitting 5,000 to the dollar for the first time.

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The next day authorities vowed to pump greenbacks into the market to limit the rout. A Beirut money-changer told AFP on Monday that the dollar was selling for 4,200 liras.

Aoun’s office announced he was due to discuss the latest developments with the country’s top security body including ministers and military officials on Monday afternoon.

“President Aoun will convene the High Defence Council on Monday afternoon to study the security situation after the latest developments,” his office said on Twitter.

Lebanon’s economic crisis, which has led to soaring unemployment and forced the country to default on its sovereign debt for the first time, has sparked an outpouring of anger at a political elite seen as incompetent and nepotistic.

The government has put together a reform package to relaunch the economy and is in talks with the International Monetary Fund to attract desperately needed financial aid.

Inflation is expected to top 50 percent this year, in a country where 45 percent of the population live under the poverty line and over a third of the workforce are out of jobs.

The economy has been hit hard by years of war in neighbouring Syria.

On Saturday in Tripoli, protesters blocked trucks suspected of smuggling food products into Syria.

But the UN World Food Programme in statement said it had sent the convoy of 39 trucks carrying food aid bound for the war-torn country.

AFP

More Protests In US Over Police Killing Of Another Black Man

ATLANTA, GA – JUNE 14: A group of protesters walks on a road after a night of protests during which a Wendy’s restaurant was set ablaze overnight on June 14, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. Dustin Chambers / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

 

 

The fatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer in Atlanta has poured more fuel on the raging US debate over racism, prompting another round of street protests and the resignation of the southern city’s police chief.

The death of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks was ruled a homicide by the county medical examiner’s office on Sunday, a day after Wendy’s restaurant where he died was set on fire and hundreds of people marched to denounce the killing.

His deadly encounter with police on Friday drew expressions of outrage, shock, and dismay in a country deeply shaken by civil unrest since the May 25 police killing in Minneapolis, Minnesota of George Floyd, an unarmed black man.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced at a news conference Saturday that Police Chief Erika Shields had decided to step down.

“I do not believe this was a justified use of deadly force,” Bottoms said.

The officer who shot Brooks — identified as Garrett Rolfe — has been dismissed.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said his office would decide whether to lay criminal charges against Rolfe by mid-week, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

James Clyburn, an African-American member of Congress from South Carolina, said he was incensed by the killing.

“This did not call for lethal force. And I don’t know what’s in the culture that would make this guy do that. It has got to be the culture. It’s got to be the system,” he said, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Clyburn is among the lawmakers debating how to reform a judicial system seen by critics as stacked against poor and minority citizens and which has proved stubbornly resistant to change.

Some activists on the left have taken up “defund the police” as a rallying cry, one that US President Donald Trump has jumped on to use as a cudgel against his Democratic rival for the White House, Joe Biden.

Biden, for his part, has tried to distance the party from the defund movement, instead advocating increased funding for community policing.

Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American congresswoman from Minnesota, called his proposal “ludicrous” and instead supported dismantling troubled police forces in places like Minneapolis, her hometown, and rebuilding them from the ground up.

“Nobody is going to defund the police,” said Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives.

“The fact of the matter is, the police have a role to play,” he said. “What we have got to do is make sure that their role is one that meets the times.”

– A struggle turns deadly –

Friday’s incident began when police responded to a complaint that Brooks was asleep in his car, blocking the drive-in lane at the Wendy’s.

Brooks allegedly failed a sobriety test administered by police, and when the officers tried to arrest him, a struggle broke out.

Video of the incident circulating on social media showed two white police officers wrestling Brooks to the ground in the parking lot.

One of them attempts to use a Taser on Brooks, who managed to grab the stun gun and run away, the video images show.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which probes police-involved killings, also released a restaurant surveillance video that showed Brooks turn and appear to fire the Taser at the officers.

An officer reached for his service weapon, and as Brooks turned back “the weapon goes off,” GBI director Vic Reynolds told reporters.

Brooks was taken to the hospital but died after surgery, the GBI said, adding that one officer was injured.

A lawyer acting for the dead man’s family said the disproportionate force was used in the confrontation.

“In Georgia, a Taser is not a deadly weapon — that’s the law,” L. Chris Stewart told reporters.

“Support came, in I think two minutes. He would have been boxed in and trapped. Why did you have to kill him?”

“(The officer) had other options than shooting a man in the back.”

Brooks had four children, Stewart added, and had celebrated the birthday of his eight-year-old daughter earlier on Friday.

His death is the 48th shooting involving an officer that the GBI has been asked to investigate this year, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Fifteen of those incidents were fatal.

Fresh World Protests Against Racism, Police Violence

People raise their fists during a rally as part of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ worldwide protests against racism and police brutality, on Place de la Republique in Paris on June 13, 2020. – A wave of global protests in the wake of US George Floyd’s fatal arrest magnified attention on the 2016 death in French police custody of Adama Traore, a 24-year-old black man, and renewed controversy over claims of racism and brutality within the force. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP.

 

Thousands marched in cities around the world for a second week of rallies Saturday to support the US Black Lives Matter movement, but also to highlight racism and police brutality in their own countries.

There were rallies in cities across Europe, with thousands demonstrating in several French cities, and clashes breaking out in Paris and Lyon.

Police arrested several far-right demonstrators in London after violence when they challenged people supporting racial quality there, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson denouncing their “racist thuggery”.

The weeks of historic demonstrations have been ignited by the May 25 killing of African American George Floyd by a police officer — the latest in a long line of unarmed black men being killed by white law enforcement in the US.

His agonising death as the officer knelt on his neck was filmed by bystanders and swiftly went viral, triggering fury first in the US and then around the world.

The mass unrest has forced an unprecedented global conversation on the legacy of slavery, European colonialism and white violence against people of colour, as well as the militarisation of police in America.

Police stopped protesters in Paris Saturday from marching through the capital, firing tear gas after some demonstrators pelted them with projectiles.

READ ALSO: Atlanta Police Chief Resigns After Officer Kills Black Man

In the southeast city of Lyon, police used water cannons and tear gas at the end of a demonstration attended by about 2,000 people.

The Paris demonstration was called by a pressure group campaigning for justice for Adama Traore, a young black man who died in police custody in 2016.

Traore’s sister Assa Traore called on those attending the rally to “denounce the denial of justice, denounce social, racial, police violence”.

She drew a direct parallel between Floyd’s death in the US city of Minneapolis and that of her brother, and renewed her call for a full investigation into his killing.

Amnesty International called in a statement for “a systemic reform of police practices” in France.

The rallies came at the end of a week when France’s police watchdog revealed it had received almost 1,500 complaints against officers last year — half of them for alleged violence.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on Tuesday promised “zero tolerance” of racism in law enforcement, saying it is clear some officers “have failed in their Republican duty”.

Castaner’s comments prompted several dozen policemen to gather with their patrol cars at Paris’s Arc de Triomphe on Saturday night, throwing down their handcuffs in protest.

Brut Yoann Maras, a representative from police union Alliance, told AFP: “My colleagues felt let down, abandoned by their supervising minister.”

– ‘Racist thuggery’ –

In London, far-right protesters clashed with police in the city centre after gathering to challenge people demonstrating against racism.

Thousands of people defied coronavirus restrictions to assemble in and around Parliament Square, requiring a “major” policing operation, said the Metropolitan Police Service.

Television footage showed some agitators throwing punches, bottles and smoke bombs at officers as well as fighting with rival protesters.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the violence, saying “racist thuggery has no place on our streets”.

Police said they arrested more than 100 people in the capital, and six officers suffered minor injuries.

Anti-racism protests went ahead in other British cities, including Brighton in the south and Liverpool in the north.

Thousands marched in several cities across Switzerland, with the largest in Zurich, where 10,000 people turned out. Police said one officer was hurt after a few hundred hard-left activists there began throwing projectiles. They made several arrests.

Earlier in the week, around 10,000 marched against racism in Geneva.

In Germany, around 2,000 rallied in the southern city of Stuttgart, the DPA news agency reported. In the north, another 500 turned out in Lubeck and 250 in Hamburg. There were no reports of any trouble.

– Rallies in Australia –

In Australia, thousands turned out in several cities for the second weekend running, despite coronavirus restrictions. The biggest was in the Western Australian capital Perth.

Many demonstrators carried signs such as “Stop deaths in custody” and “White Australia stop lying to yourselves”, highlighting the deaths of more than 400 indigenous people in custody over the last three decades.

Smaller protests for Aboriginal rights were held in Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory, and towns in neighbouring Queensland — both regions with numerous indigenous communities.

In Asia, hundreds gathered in a Taipei park with some holding signs with slogans such as “This is a movement, not a moment”. They held eight minutes of silence to remember Floyd, who was pinned to the ground by the white officer’s knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

Dozens also marched through the rain in Tokyo.

In Canada, officials in the eastern province of New Brunswick announced Saturday that they had opened an investigation into the fatal police shooting of a 48-year-old indigenous man, the second such incident this month.

And in the US the anger was refreshed after yet another black man was shot dead by police, this time in the city of Atlanta on Friday evening.

The city’s police chief resigned Saturday.

AFP

Heavyweight Champion Joshua Hits Out At ‘Virus’ Of Racism

 

World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua told a Black Lives Matter march on Saturday that protesters were the “vaccine” to the “virus” of racism.

“The virus I am referring to is called racism,” he said, comparing its effects to the damage done by COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the British boxer asked: “How long are we going to allow racism to spread through our communities?”

Worldwide protests under the banner of Black Lives Matter took place Saturday in response to the death of George Floyd, a black American man who died in Minneapolis last month while being arrested by police officers.

“You are the vaccine, I am the vaccine,” the 30-year-old Joshua told a rally in his home town of Watford.

“Killing a person outright is unforgivable, but stripping them of their human rights, oppressing them, mocking them, insulting them, placing glass ceilings above them… is just a slower way of killing them and taking the life out of their soul.”

Joshua was on crutches at times on Saturday and was also seen wearing a knee brace, but a spokesperson insisted that was just a “precautionary measure”.

Joshua, the reigning WBA, IBF and WBO title-holder, felt a “slight twinge” in his left knee in a training session earlier this week.

But his camp insisted there was no cause for alarm.

“Anthony felt a slight twinge in his knee whilst training,” the spokesperson said.

“The brace is a precautionary measure on the advice of physios. It will be further checked by his doctors but there is no immediate concern.”

Joshua was due to defend his belts against Kubrat Pulev at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20 only for the bout to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

George Floyd: Ujah Proud Of Players Staging Anti-Racism Protests

These images taken on May 25, 2020, from a video courtesy of Darnella Frazier via Facebook, shows Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin during the arrest of George Floyd. Darnella Frazier / Facebook/Darnella Frazier / AFP
These images taken on May 25, 2020, from a video courtesy of Darnella Frazier via Facebook, shows Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin during the arrest of George Floyd. Darnella Frazier / Facebook/Darnella Frazier / AFP

 

Union Berlin’s Nigerian striker Anthony Ujah said he is “proud” of Jadon Sancho and other Bundesliga players who staged on-pitch protests following the death of black American George Floyd and pledged to do the same if he scores against Schalke this Sunday. 

“I am proud of the players who are taking a stand. I am proud of Jadon Sancho. I am proud of Weston McKennie. I am proud of Marcus Thuram. I am proud of Achraf Hakimi. The whole world saw their message,” wrote Ujah in an article for German daily FAZ.

After scoring in Dortmund’s win at Paderborn on Sunday, England winger Sancho lifted his shirt to reveal the message “Justice for George Floyd”. He was booked, but for lifting his shirt over his head rather than for the message.

His Dortmund team-mate Hakimi unveiled a similar t-shirt, while Schalke’s McKennie wrote the same message on his captain’s armband during a defeat to Werder Bremen. Gladbach striker Thuram, meanwhile, dropped to one knee after scoring against Union.

The German Football Association (DFB) later decided not to sanction the four players for what they said were “symbols of solidarity”.

“This line will also be taken should further players make demonstrations on racism and the death of Floyd over the course of upcoming matchdays,” the DFB added.

Ujah, who staged a similar protest while playing for Cologne six years ago following the death of another black American man Eric Garner, said he would not hesitate to do so again.

“Six years later, we are again talking about exactly the same thing. A black person is no longer able to breathe and loses his life under police violence. That is a disgrace. Every year we hope that it will improve, but exactly the same things happen again,” said the Nigerian.

AFP

Senegal Arrests 70 Over Violent Protests Against COVID-19 Curfew

File photo of residents in Dakar on May 23, 2020. (Photo by JOHN WESSELS / AFP)

 

Senegalese police arrested more than 70 people on Wednesday after protests tinged by violence broke out in several cities across the West African country demanding a nighttime coronavirus curfew be lifted.

The protests over the 9:00 pm and 5:00am curfew started on Tuesday and continued into the night, their severity prompting an appeal for calm by a major Muslim leader.

In Touba, a religious hub 200 kilometres (120 miles) east of the capital Dakar, three police vehicles and an ambulance were set ablaze, a senior official said on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A coronavirus treatment centre there was attacked and the windows of the offices of electricity provider Senelec were smashed, the source said.

Witnesses added that post office buildings in Touba — the seat of the politically powerful Sufi Muslim order called the Mouride Brotherhood — were attacked.

In the neighbouring town of Mbacke, protesters damaged the local headquarters of radio station RFM, which is owned by singer and former minister Youssou N’Dour, according to the local journalists’ association 3CM.

The group said in a statement that it “firmly condemns these acts of vandalism” and “calls on the authorities to ensure the safety of the media during this period of riots”.

In a separate statement, the Council of Broadcasters and Press Publishers of Senegal (CDEPS) said “those responsible for this rampage must be tracked down and brought to justice”.

Protestors also erected barricades and burned tyres in Mbacke, other witnesses said.

The Senegalese media added demonstrations also occurred in Tambacounda, in the east of the country, and Diourbel, in the west.

There were 74 arrests — 29 in Touba, 38 in Mbacke, five in Tambacounda and two in Diourbel — a source close to the case said on Wednesday.

– ‘Go home’ –

The caliph, or leader, of the Mouride Brotherhood, Serigne Mountakha Mbacke, made a rare late-night TV appearance to call for an end to the protests in Touba, Senegal’s second-largest city with a population of around a million people.

“Go home. Tomorrow we will look at the source of the problems and how to address them. I don’t think we have ever seen this in Touba,” he said.

The curfew, imposed by President Macky Sall on March 23, bans movement between 9pm and 5am.

It is being implemented in tandem with a ban on travel between Senegal’s regions.

The measures have been extended until the end of June, although Sall eased other restrictions on May 11, allowing places of worship and markets to reopen.

High schools in the West African state had been due to reopen on Tuesday, but this step was delayed at the last minute after 10 teachers in the southern region of Casamance tested positive for COVID-19.

The country has recorded nearly 4,000 cases of coronavirus, 45 of them fatalities.

The figures are low compared to countries in Europe and the United States, although experts caution that, as elsewhere in Africa, Senegal is vulnerable to the pandemic because of its weak health system.

Demands for an easing of restrictions have mounted in the face of the plight of many Senegalese who depend on menial day-by-day jobs.

Around 40 percent of the population live below the threshold of poverty, according to a World Bank benchmark.

The government is expected to announce in the coming days whether it will ease some of the emergency curbs.

Pope Reacts To Killing Of Floyd, Says Racism Is Intolerable

This photo taken and released on April 13, 2020, by the Vatican Media shows Pope Francis delivering his message during a private Angelus prayer live broadcast from the library of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican on Easter Monday, during the lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP.

 

Pope Francis said on Wednesday “we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism”, in reaction to the killing of a black man by US police that has sparked nationwide protests.

But the pontiff also condemned the violence that followed George Floyd’s death in the city of Minneapolis last week as “self-destructive and self-defeating”.

“Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost,” Francis said.

Floyd, 46, an unarmed African-American man, suffocated as a white police officer kneeled on his neck, sparking once-in-a-generation demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality.

The pope said he was praying for Floyd and “all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism”.

READ ALSO: UK PM Johnson Condemns George Floyd killing, Calls For ‘Lawful’ Protests

Protests have been held in cities across the country, mostly peaceful but many descending into mayhem.

Both activists and officials have blamed rabble-rousers for the trouble and thousands of people have been arrested.

AFP

Trump Threatens To Mobilise Military To Stop Violent U.S. Protests

A military police Humvee blocks the street in downtown as demonstrators protest during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Washington D.C. on June 1, 2020. Jose Luis Magana / AFP

 

 

President Donald Trump vowed to order a military crackdown on once-in-a-generation violent protests gripping the United States, saying he was sending thousands of troops onto the streets of the capital and threatening to deploy soldiers to states unable to regain control.

The dramatic escalation came a week after the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed when a white police officer knelt on his neck, leading to the worst civil unrest in decades in New York, Los Angeles and dozens of other American cities.

After being criticized for his silence on the worsening crisis, Trump struck a martial tone in a nationwide address Monday from the White House garden, as police fired tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the fence.

“I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults, and the wanton destruction of property,” Trump said.

He slammed the previous night’s unrest in Washington as a “total disgrace” and called on governors to “dominate the streets.”

“If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” he said, denouncing “acts of domestic terror.”

Despite the president’s rhetoric, Monday’s protests appeared largely peaceful in major cities, though some looting was reported in New York and Los Angeles.

During his address, however, law enforcement including military police used tear gas to clear protesters outside the White House so the president could walk across the street to the two-centuries-old St John’s church, hit with graffiti and partially damaged by fire during unrest on Sunday.

“We have a great country,” Trump declared as he stood before the church’s boarded-up windows, held up a Bible, and posed for photographs.

The backlash was swift.

“He’s using the American military against the American people,” tweeted Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden.

“He tear-gassed peaceful protesters and fired rubber bullets. For a photo. For our children, for the very soul of our country, we must defeat him,” he said.

Washington’s Episcopalian bishop, Mariann Budde, said she was “outraged” at the church visit, which she said Trump did not have permission for.

Thousands of people have participated in the nationwide demonstrations against police brutality and racism since Floyd’s killing.

It was the most widespread unrest in the United States since 1968 when cities went up in flames over the slaying of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Many of the demonstrations have been peaceful and marked by moments of catharsis such as officers hugging tearful protesters and marching or kneeling alongside them.

– ‘Homicide’ –

Others have seen rage-filled clashes between protesters and police, and widespread property damage. One person was shot dead in Louisville, Kentucky.

Floyd’s agonizing death was caught on bystander cell phone video that shows policeman Derek Chauvin pinning him down with his knee for nearly nine minutes, as the 46-year-old pleaded for his life with the haunting words: “I can’t breathe!”

“The evidence is consistent with mechanical asphyxia as the cause of death, and homicide as the manner of death,” Allecia Wilson, a University of Michigan expert who examined his body at the family’s request, said.

Hennepin County’s medical examiner released its official autopsy calling the death a homicide caused by “neck compression,” although it had also said he was intoxicated and pointed to heart disease.

A memorial for Floyd will take place on Thursday in Minneapolis before his funeral in Houston, where he grew up, on June 9.

But hundreds paid tribute in Minneapolis on Monday at the exact time he died one week prior, forming a large circle at the site of the killing where they chanted, knelt, and prayed.

Floyd, 46, had been accused of trying to buy cigarettes with a counterfeit bill.

The autopsy revived demands for the arrest of three other police officers who stood guard for Chauvin as Floyd lay dying.

Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and is due to appear in court on June 8.

– ‘We’ve had enough’ –

More than 40 cities have imposed curfews after consecutive nights of tension.

More looting was taking place in New York on Monday night, an AFP reporter saw, with stores including Best Buy and Nike damaged. Police said they had arrested “hundreds” across the city.

After widespread looting in Manhattan, New York mayor Bill de Blasio said a curfew would be imposed from 8:00 pm Tuesday, three hours earlier than Monday’s.

“We support peaceful protest in this city. But right now it’s time to go home,” de Blasio tweeted.

In Los Angeles, where the National Guard were deployed at Hollywood landmarks such as the Dolby Theatre, some looting was also reported, though protests were largely peaceful.

“Deep down inside us, we’ve had enough,” said 30-year-old Jessica Hubbert, a protester.

Trump spent most of the weekend inside the White House tweeting attacks on political rivals and the media.

In a leaked conference call Monday, he told state governors they were “going to look like a bunch of jerks” if they were too soft.

The governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, is heard saying he was “extraordinarily concerned” by the president’s “inflammatory” rhetoric.

Biden, for his part, met Monday with black leaders at a church in his home of Wilmington, Delaware, and promised to form a police oversight commission in his first 100 days as president.