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Tag: tear gas

Trump’s Brutal Response To Protest Violence Undermines ‘Law And Order’

Donald Trump, whose 2016 presidential campaign was consciously modeled after Richard Nixon's 1968 run, seems to think he can win reelection by emulating his predecessor's appeal to a "silent majority" disgusted by raucous anti-war protests. Trump is offering voters a choice between his firm hand and the pusillanimity of "liberal Democrats" who let "violent anarchists" run wild in the streets.

Notwithstanding Trump's pose as "your president of law and order," his heavy-handed reaction to the protests triggered by George Floyd's death represents neither. In response to largely peaceful demonstrations against police brutality that have been punctuated by criminal behavior, he has deployed his own brand of lawlessness, including arbitrary arrests and the disproportionate, indiscriminate use of force.

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More Than 1200 Former Justice Officials Demand Probe Of Barr’s Role In Teargas Assault

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

More than 1,250 former Department of Justice employees on Wednesday called on the department's inspector general to open an investigation into reports that Attorney General William Barr personally ordered the tear-gassing of protesters in Washington, D.C. on June 1.

The former employees wrote that Inspector General Michael Horowitz must get to the bottom of Barr's involvement in the dispersing of the crowd, which was part of the nationwide uprising against racial injustice following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

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Watch Washington Post Video Timeline Of Police Assault On Lafayette Park Protesters

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The Washington Post has published this short film based on video footage, audio of police communications and other records in what is undoubtedly "the most complete account to date of the June 1 crackdown on protesters in Washington D.C."

Watch the meticulously compiled 12-minute video below to see what transpired in the hours before the Trump walk of shame to St. Johns Episcopal Church on June 1.

Contrary to claims by Barr and others in the administration, physical assault, tear gas, exploding pepper balls, and grenades containing rubber pellets were used on what clearly look like peaceful protesters, most of them young, a mix of whites and blacks and every shade in between, protesting and making noise. There is no evidence of violence by protesters. There is no evidence of bricks or corrosive liquids thrown by protesters, except for a few water bottles, candy bars, and eggs flung at Robocop-like personnel ready to do battle.

Late in the day on June 1, demonstrators gathered near the White House, on the edge of Lafayette Square, to protest police abuse following the death in custody of Minneapolis resident George Floyd. Similar protests had erupted across the country. Many were peaceful, but some included property destruction and clashes with police.
At about 6:30 p.m., just north of the White House, federal police in riot gear fired gas canisters and used grenades containing rubber pellets to scatter the largely peaceful demonstrators. Their actions cleared the way for the president, surrounded by the nation's top law enforcement and military leaders, to walk to the historic St. John's Church for a three-minute photo op.
Drawing on footage captured from dozens of cameras, as well as police radio communications and other records, The Washington Post reconstructed the events of this latest remarkable hour of Trump's presidency, including of the roles of the agencies involved and the tactics and weaponry they used.

Hopefully this video will go viral. People need to see how callous and mendacious this administration is.

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

US Park Police Issues Contradictory Statements On Tear Gas Fiasco

On Friday, a U.S. Park Police spokesperson walked back the agency's claim that officers did not use tear gas on Monday evening to disperse a crowd across the street from the White House, Vox reported.

"It was a mistake on our part for using 'tear gas' because we just assumed people would think CS or CN," Sgt. Eduardo Delgado said. "It was kind of a fault on our part just not saying in the first place 'we did not use CN or CS, we used smoke and pepper balls,' and that would've made it a moot point," he added.

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Hong Kong Protesters Defiant After Tear Gas Chaos

Hong Kong (AFP) — Thousands of defiant Hong Kong protesters stood their ground on Monday after facing tear gas and riot police in overnight clashes, paralyzing parts of the city with their campaign to demand Beijing allow free elections.

In the worst unrest since the former British colony was handed back to China in 1997, demonstrators fought hours of running battles with police, choking on clouds of tear gas as officers attempted to control the seething crowds.

Throughout the morning thousands of people were refusing to budge from at least three major thoroughfares on Hong Kong’s main island and across the harbor, with many schools and businesses shuttered as widespread disruption left many commuters struggling to get to work.

Exhausted protesters sheltered from the fierce sun under umbrellas, with some trying to snatch some sleep on the ground.

The demonstrators have stuck to their demands for full universal suffrage after Beijing last month said it would allow elections for the semi-autonomous city’s next leader in 2017 but would vet the candidates — a decision branded a “fake democracy”.

Tensions dropped significantly after city authorities withdrew riot police as dawn broke.

“Because the citizens gathered on the streets have calmed, riot police have been withdrawn,” a statement on the government website read, calling on protesters to do the same.

But demonstrators showed little sign of standing down.

“We are more confident now — the police don’t have enough officers to close down the districts where there are protests,” Ivan Yeung, a 27-year-old who works in marketing, told AFP after a night camped out in the busy Causeway Bay shopping district.

– Dramatic escalation –

The clashes marked a dramatic escalation of protests in the city, which rarely sees such unrest, after a tense week of largely contained student-led demonstrations exploded into mass angry street protests.

Britain voiced concern, calling for “constructive” talks and saying it hoped they would lead to a “meaningful advance for democracy” in the city.

Analysts said it was difficult to predict what might happen next.

“The difficulty is that there seems to be no going back for both sides,” Surya Deva, a law professor at the City University of Hong Kong, told AFP. “Which side will blink first is difficult to say, but I think protestors will prevail in the long run.”

Michael DeGolyer, a professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, said Hong Kong’s thinly-stretched police force were getting weary.

“Their hope is that demonstrators will get tired and quit before the police get too worn out to continue. But tempers will start getting short by tomorrow or Wednesday,” he said.

Students have boycotted classes in the past week, which also saw protesters storm Hong Kong’s central government complex, with pro-democracy group Occupy Central on Sunday bringing forward a mass civil disobedience campaign that had been due to start on October 1.

Demonstrators have decried the police’s use of tear gas — the first in the city since protests at a World Trade Organization summit in 2005 — but the authorities have defended their conduct, calling the ongoing protests unlawful.

In a statement the U.S. consulate said it supported Hong Kong’s “well established traditions… such as freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press”.

But it added it did not take sides or support any particular group.

Overnight, Hong Kong’s leader Leung Chun-ying insisted demonstrators withdraw from the streets.

He also quashed rumours circulating on social media that city authorities planned to call in the Chinese military, which stations a garrison in the city.

“There is absolutely no proof of this,” he said.

But the protest leadership showed little sign of backing down.

“Anyone with a conscience should be ashamed to be associated with a government that is so indifferent to public opinion,” Occupy Central said in a statement Monday.

Protesters are demanding that Leung step down and that Beijing rescind its decision last month that anyone standing for election to the city’s top post in 2017 must be vetted by a loyalist committee first.

– Commuters frustrated –

For commuters in the already densely populated and congested city, the ongoing protests brought widespread disruption.

More than 200 bus routes were cancelled or diverted as well as large sections of the city’s tram networks. The underground railway was operational but exits at several subway stations in key areas were closed.

An AFP reporter saw angry confrontations between protesters and frustrated members of the public.

The city’s stock exchange opened as usual, but sank nearly two percent by late morning as investors fretted about the potential impact the ongoing disruption could have on a key regional market.

A total of 41 people had been treated in hospital for injuries sustained during the protests, broadcaster RTHK reported.

Officers have so far made 78 arrests for offenses ranging from forcible entry into government premises, unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct in public place and assaulting public officers.

Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” deal that guarantees liberties not seen on the mainland, including freedom of speech and the right to protest.

But tensions have been building in the southern Chinese city over fears that these freedoms are being eroded, as well as perceived political interference from Beijing.

AFP Photo/Xaume Olleros

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Michael Brown Shooting In Ferguson Has A Global Audience

By Julie Makinen, Los Angeles Times

BEIJING — Amnesty International has sent monitors to the scene. Palestinians are tweeting advice on how to cope with tear gas. Tibetan monks have showed up to offer prayers. Russian officials, Iran’s official news agency, and China’s state-run media are offering lectures on human rights abuses.

What started as a small-town police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old black man in suburban St. Louis has quickly become an international incident.

As the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., stretches into a second week, scenes of cops in military-like vehicles clashing with protesters are being beamed around the world. A global audience is watching the events with shock and sympathy — but also a sense of superiority and schadenfreude.

For countries that are often on the receiving end of human-rights lectures from Washington, the situation in Ferguson, Mo. — the violence, the race troubles and arrests of American journalists — has presented an irresistible opportunity to turn the tables and accuse the United States of hypocrisy.

“The Ferguson incident once again demonstrates that even in a country that has for years tried to play the role of an international human rights judge and defender, there is still much room for improvement at home,” China’s state-run New China News Agency said in a commentary published Monday, just hours before Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered National Guard troops into the city. “Obviously, what the United States needs to do is to concentrate on solving its own problems rather than always pointing fingers at others.”

But Chinese media haven’t been devoting as extensive coverage to the Ferguson unrest as have their counterparts in Russia, where the story been featured prominently on TV news.

Russian officials have taken an even more strident tone — perhaps not surprising, given the toxic atmosphere between Moscow and Washington of late. Taking note of the unrest in Ferguson, the Foreign Ministry urged “our American partners to pay more attention to restoring order in their own country before imposing their dubious experience on other nations.”

The United States “has positioned itself as a ‘bastion of human rights’ and is actively engaged in ‘export of democracy’ on a systematic basis,” but “serious violations of basic human rights and barbaric practices thrive” in the country, Moscow said in remarks Friday responding to a U.S. report to a United Nations committee on racial discrimination.

In Iran on Monday, Ferguson was top news, even overshadowing a magnitude 6.2 earthquake that injured dozens. The Islamic Republic News Agency, the government’s official news service, commented that “violence has become institutionalized in the U.S. in recent years, but since President Obama, the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner, came to the White House, the violence has intensified, and now it has erupted against blacks in Ferguson.”

Even in tiny countries such as Sri Lanka, which doesn’t have particularly strained ties with the United States the Ferguson situation has become a cudgel to hit back at Washington.

Taking umbrage over a U.S. security warning to Americans on Aug. 8 in connection with an increase in protests and anti-American sentiment in Sri Lanka, the island nation’s Daily News opined: “For the U.S. to issue a travel warning for Sri Lanka does seem odd at a time when there are race riots in Missouri.”

“The world is concerned about gun violence and its toll in the U.S., and even though the U.S. president says he is concerned as well, he has not been able to do anything about its epidemic prevalence,” the paper said.

Scenes of tear gas, Molotov cocktails, and flash grenades in Ferguson have surprised many in Egypt, the Palestinian territories and other places where such violence is more common.

A popular blogger in Cairo, who writes under the pseudonym The Big Pharaoh, tweeted a picture from Ferguson and commented: “Nope, this is not Egypt or Turkey. This is in the USA.”

Mariam Barghouti, a university student and blogger in the West Bank city of Ramallah, has tweeted out tips for reporters and others in Ferguson who face tear gas from police.

“Remember to not touch your face when tear-gassed or put water on it. Instead use milk or coke!” she wrote last week.

After taking the highly unusual step of sending human rights monitors to Ferguson, London-based Amnesty International on Sunday called for state and federal probes into Brown’s death, as well as the tactics of Ferguson police. Atop the group’s U.S. website, its “Stand With Ferguson” campaign gets equal billing with its “Gaza Crisis” and “Panic in Iraq” briefings.

“Amnesty International has a long and tested history of monitoring and investigating police conduct, not just in foreign countries, but right here at home in the United States,” Amnesty USA executive director Steven W. Hawkins said in a statement. “Our delegation traveled to Missouri to let the authorities in Ferguson know that the world is watching.”

AFP Photo/Michael B. Thomas

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Missouri Governor: No Curfew Monday Night

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

FERGUSON, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said there will be no curfew Monday night in Ferguson, where a rotating series of official responses to protests have failed to end looting and violence late at night.

The Missouri National Guard, called in early Monday morning by Nixon to help keep order in Ferguson, will be used to protect the police command center, according to the governor’s office. Police officials said the command center was the destination of protesters who were met with tear gas Sunday evening.

“The Guard will concentrate its resources on carrying out this limited mission,” Nixon said in a statement.

He also said, “I join the people of Ferguson, and all Missourians, in strongly condemning the violent acts we saw (Sunday) night, including the firing upon law enforcement officers, the shooting of a civilian, the throwing of Molotov cocktails, looting, and a coordinated attempt to overrun the unified Command Center.

“We are all frustrated and looking for justice to be achieved regarding the shooting death of Michael Brown. As the dual investigations continue into what happened nine days ago at Canfield Green, we must defend Ferguson from these violent interlopers so that the peaceful protests can operate in peace and the search for answers and justice can continue.”

Earlier Monday, Nixon announced that he was activating the National Guard to help restore order in Ferguson after a week of protests that have resulted in looting and violence some nights.

Missouri governors have mustered National Guard soldiers to the St. Louis area for floods, heat waves and even a heavy snowstorm, but not street violence, at least not since World War II. In April 1968, then-Gov. Warren E. Hearnes sent more than 1,500 National Guard soldiers to Kansas City to assist police during a riot that broke out shortly after the murder of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.

AFP Photo/Michael B. Thomas

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