Washington Police Clash With Anti-Racism Protesters in Chinatown



Protesters clashed with officers in Washington’s Chinatown on April 17 during a demonstration against racism and police brutality sparked by recent police shootings. Three adults and a 15-year-old were arrested, local media reported. The adults were charged with assault on a police officer and possession of a destructive device and the 15-year-old was charged with possession of a prohibited weapon, reports said. Social media footage from the protest showed fireworks exploding in front of the Chinatown arch and smoke fuming out of the vandalized Christopher Columbus fountain near Union Station. Footage shared by Twitter user @superman747474 shows police pushing protesters and telling them to “back off” before fireworks are set off near the officers. Credit: @superman747474 via Storyful

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Students call on Australia to let them stay as military guns down protesters in Myanmar


Naw Naw* becomes shaky when she talks about the deadly violence being unleashed in her home of Myanmar.

Activists estimate more than 700 people — some of them children as young as five years old — have been killed since the military seized power in a coup on February 1, deposing de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

“Sometimes they kill at night … every age, they kill,” Naw Naw told the ABC.

For now, Naw Naw is safe in Melbourne, studying a diploma of early childhood.

But her time in Australia could be about to run out — her visa is due to expire next month.

As a member of the Kachin ethnic community who has been outspoken about the atrocities back home, she fears what would happen if she were forced to return. 

“I would be arrested too if I must return now,” she said.

She fears if she was detained, she wouldn’t come out alive. 

“Everyone here is in fear of returning at the moment. I really fear for every student.”

Mary Aung, also an international student, echoed those fears at a public hearing on the situation in Myanmar held by the joint standing committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade on Tuesday. 

“There’s a great danger for me if I go back if I go back to Myanmar — I could be arrested on my arrival,” she said.

There are more than 3,500 temporary visa holders from Myanmar in Australia, about half of them students.

Last month, The Australian reported the government was planning to grant visa extensions on humanitarian grounds to Myanmar citizens in Australia on temporary visas.

The report said the Home Affairs and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade were working on a policy to be announced in “not weeks, but days” – but no announcement has yet been made.

The latest government figures show that in March, 45 Myanmar citizens applied to the Australian government for protection visas. Thirteen applied in February. 

Some in the Myanmar community have called on the Australian government to follow in the steps of Bob Hawke, who offered asylum to Chinese students in Australia after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

That’s something Naw Naw would like to see too.

“I really want to request the Australian government to take strong and quick action [on] this,” she said.

Members of the Myanmar community criticised Australia’s “slow and ineffective” response to the coup. 

Labor MP Julian Hill said they “deserve better”. 

“Here we are in mid-April, and the best you’ve got is something might happen and it’s not my problem,” he said. 

“It sounds somewhat constipated, shall I say, so I do hope some of these actions can be brought to bear soon so things are unblocked.”

Ridwaan Jadwat, from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, disagreed with that assessment. 

“The government will look at this with a great deal of compassion and make a sensible decision,” he said. 

He said visa extensions are being considered, and when it comes to sanctions, “nothing is off the table”, he added. 

Hugh Jeffrey from Defence warned that sanctioning the military is not a “silver bullet”. 

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Protesters March in Dallas in Wake of Daunte Wright Shooting



Protesters took to the streets of Dallas, Texas, on the evening of April 13 in the wake of the police shooting of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Local media reported that the protest began outside the Dallas Police Department headquarters. This footage shows the protesters chanting and marching through the city. Protests began after police fatally shot Wright during a traffic stop on April 11. On April 13, demonstrations took place in Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, California, and Texas. Credit: @WhiskeyNeon via Storyful

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Protesters defy curfew in Old Montreal, setting fires, breaking windows


Demonstrators lit fires and shouted slogans in Old Montreal Sunday evening in defiance of a new 8 p.m.curfew that went into effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19 cases.

A large crowd blocked off a street near Montreal’s Place Jacques-Cartier. Some lit fires in garbage cans, while others set off fireworks and chanted slogans deriding Premier François Legault and demanding more freedom.

Garbage fires were lit at many intersections and protesters picked up what they could find on the street and threw it at store windows, shattering many.

Many of the demonstrators were not wearing masks.

Dozens of police, some in riot gear, arrived on the scene around 8:30 p.m., at which point some protesters began to disperse.

The provincial government announced the earlier curfew on Tuesday. Premier Legault said it was a necessary “preventative” measure to stop people from gathering indoors, and avoid an explosion of COVID-19 cases.

A curfew was first imposed across Quebec on January 9. It required Quebecers across the province to be in their homes from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. unless they had a valid reason to be out.The curfew was later moved back to 9:30 p.m. in some regions, including Montreal.

 

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Climate change protesters delay Sydney traffic


Climate change protesters are causing traffic chaos across Sydney’s CBD this morning.

Members of the Extinction Rebellion group have chained themselves to barrels in the city.

Earlier, one woman glued herself to the road and was arrested.

Traffic had been unable to get through but has now started to move.

The protests are centred around Bathurst and George Streets, with Live Traffic warning of heavy traffic in the area.

A second group of protesters were rallying against a gas pipeline.

Last week, Extinction Rebellion protesters also disrupted traffic in Melbourne for five days.

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At least 50 protesters reportedly killed in Myanmar on ‘day of shame for the armed forces’


Myanmar’s security forces shot and killed at least 50 protesters on Saturday, news reports and witnesses said, a brutal crackdown on dissent that came as the leader of the ruling junta said the military will protect the people and strive for democracy.

Protesters against the 1 February military coup came out on the streets of Yangon, Mandalay and other cities and towns on Saturday, defying a warning they could be shot “in the head and back” as the country’s generals celebrated Armed Forces Day.

“Today is a day of shame for the armed forces,” Dr Sasa, a spokesman for CRPH, an anti-junta group set up by deposed lawmakers, told an online forum.

“The military generals are celebrating Armed Forces Day after they just killed more than 300 innocent civilians,” he said, giving an estimate of the toll since protests first erupted weeks ago.

At least four people were killed when security forces opened fire at a crowd protesting outside a police station in Yangon’s Dala suburb in the early hours of Saturday, Myanmar Now reported. At least 10 people were wounded, the news portal said.

Three people, including a young man who plays in a local under-21 football team, were shot and killed in a protest in the Insein district of the city, a neighbour told Reuters.

Thirteen people were killed in various incidents in Mandalay, Myanmar Now said. Deaths were also reported from the Sagaing region near Mandalay, Lashio town in the east, in the Bago region, near Yangon, and elsewhere, it said.

Myanmar Now said a total of at least 50 people were killed on Saturday. Reuters could not independently verify the numbers killed.

A military spokesman did not respond to calls seeking comment.

After presiding over a military parade in the capital Naypyitaw to mark Armed Forces Day, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing reiterated a promise to hold elections, without giving any time-frame.

“The army seeks to join hands with the entire nation to safeguard democracy,” the general said in a live broadcast on state television, adding that authorities also sought to protect the people and restore peace across the country.

“Violent acts that affect stability and security in order to make demands are inappropriate.”

Soldiers on horseback lead the convoy of Myanmar armed forces chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing as he arrives for the Armed Forces Day parade.

AFP

The latest deaths will add to a toll of 328 people killed in the crackdown that has followed the coup against Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government, according to a tally kept by an activist group.

In an ominous warning on Friday evening, state television said: “You should learn from the tragedy of earlier ugly deaths that you can be in danger of getting shot to the head and back.”

The warning did not specifically say that security forces had been given shoot-to-kill orders. The junta has previously tried to suggest that some fatal shootings have come from within the crowds.

But it showed the military’s determination to prevent any disruptions around Armed Forces Day, which commemorates the start of the resistance to Japanese occupation in 1945 that was orchestrated by Suu Kyi’s father, the founder of the military.

Aung San, considered the father of the nation, was assassinated in 1947.

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Batley Grammar School closes for second day as protesters gather in wake of Prophet Mohammed row



The school at the centre of a row over the showing of a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed in class closed today after crowds gathered at the gates for a second day.

Batley Grammar School in West Yorkshire has switched to remote learning as around 50 protesters again called for the sacking of the teacher who showed pupils the image.

Crowds gathered again on Friday to complain about the image, which parents said had been taken from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The school has apologised over the “inappropriate” image, which was shown during a religious studies class this week, and suspended a teacher.

In a statement issued yesterday, the school said: “The school unequivocally apologises for using a totally inappropriate resource in a recent religious studies lesson. The member of staff has also given their most sincere apologies.

“We have immediately withdrawn teaching on this part of the course and we are reviewing how we go forward with the support of all the communities represented in our school.

“It is important for children to learn about faith and beliefs, but this must be done in a sensitive way.

“The member of staff has been suspended pending an independent formal investigation.

“The school is working closely with the governing board and community leaders to help resolve the situation.”

But a second day of protesting was organised on social media as calls grew for the teacher to be sacked.

A community leader gave an impromptu speech this morning to the crowd in which he said: “What is the freedom of speech? We are using this freedom of speech as an excuse. We shouldn’t violate this freedom of speech.

“We need to understand that if freedom of speech is hurting somebody’s emotions and sentiment, you can’t expect something like this from somebody who is in a profession to educate our children.

“Especially as this school is located around the Muslim community, we should be more careful. We should not touch people’s sentiments.”

The protest came after the education secretary waded into the row last night to condemn the protests, saying schools were free to tackle controversial topics.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “It is never acceptable to threaten or intimidate teachers.

“We encourage dialogue between parents and schools when issues emerge.

“However, the nature of protest we have seen, including issuing threats and in violation of coronavirus restrictions, is completely unacceptable and must be brought to an end.”

According to a 2015 Ofsted report Batley Grammar had 689 pupils of which almost three-quarters were from a minority ethnic background.



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Hong Kong Prodemocracy Protesters on Trial


On the last day of February, authorities charged 47 people with conspiracy to commit subversion for partaking in the unofficial primary for an election that never happened and in which many were barred from participating. Their alleged crime is a violation of the sweeping national-security law enacted by Beijing last year, and can be punished by life in prison.

The next day, bail proceedings began, a grueling multiweek affair during which numerous defendants were admitted to the hospital for exhaustion. The process looked at times like a political show trial, calling into question the ability of the city’s common-law courts to retain their credibility.

The proceedings started at the same time officials met on the mainland to discuss drastically retooling Hong Kong’s electoral system to make sure that only “patriots” rule the city. The plan was approved by the National People’s Congress without a single dissenting voice; details were not revealed before the rubber-stamp vote. The city’s leader said the public would not be consulted on the implementation of the changes.

Taken together, the events of early March are the most significant yet in China’s efforts to reengineer the boisterous Hong Kong into a more palatable, and more subservient, city. Many Hong Kongers see these developments as “essentially eliminating political opposition in Hong Kong,” says Michael C. Davis, a law professor at O. P. Jindal Global University, in India, and the author of a book on the city’s rule of law.

On trial in Hong Kong is not just the democracy movement, but a surprisingly wide swath of Hong Kong itself. Observers tend to describe the protesters as part of the city’s prodemocracy movement, but that flattens them and their ideology: Among the defendants are champions of Hong Kong’s progressive values, noted gay-rights activists, pioneering labor leaders, feminists, and medical workers, all swept up in a dragnet deployed to stifle democratic development and pluralistic politics. In one mass trial, authorities are “removing the voice of Hong Kong people,” Davis told me.


When Wahsung Yau joined British Airways as a member of the airline’s cabin crew in 2010, he was on a one-year contract, and co-workers told him not to be too vocal about working conditions if he wanted to return. In particular, he says, they warned him to steer clear of the cabin-crew union and its leader, Carol Ng. “They called her the leader of the rebellion,” he told me from the United Kingdom, where he now lives. Yau, who, by his own admission, rarely shies away from speaking his mind, made a point of ignoring their advice.

At the time, it was “like a sin to say or do anything against your seniors,” Yau said of the corporate environment. But Ng, who had worked for the airline since the early ’90s and helped form the union in 2003, had little patience for deferentialism. She led the union as it successfully battled the airline over wages and triumphed in a years-long race- and age-discrimination case. “It was quite hard to imagine that someone could overthrow a company’s decision,” said Yau, who became the chairperson of the union in 2016. “She did that a few times.”

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Several arrests made after Extinction Rebellion protesters cause ‘mass disruption’


At least eight Extinction Rebellion protesters have been arrested in the first wave of a week of demonstrations.

The group met at Carlton Gardens on Monday afternoon before marching towards the Swanston and Lonsdale intersection outside the QV building with plans for what they call – “mass disruption”.

7NEWS witnessed several arrests being made before the group progressed down Lonsdale Street.

The group’s efforts began on Monday morning outside Parliament House, at the corner of Bourke and Spring Streets, where dozens of blanket-clad activists staged a “die in”.

Crowds lay on the road with white sheets draped over them causing the area to come to a halt during peak hour.

Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius said protesters had health department approval but noted about 2000 police had been diverted to the climate protests planned throughout this week in the city.

“It is a huge opportunity cost for community safety,” he said.

There has also been reports some protesters might try to camp overnight at Carlton Gardens, north of the CBD.

Yarra Trams warned commuters of service changes and ongoing disruption to the network from Monday to as late as Sunday due to the ongoing protest action.

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BBC journalist freed in Myanmar as anti-coup protesters call for foreign intervention


A BBC journalist held in Myanmar has been freed, the broadcaster said on Monday, as demonstrators took to the streets for fresh anti-coup protests against the military.

Myanmar’s junta has unleashed deadly violence on protesters who have risen against the military’s ousting of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi last month.

More than 2,600 people have been arrested and 250 killed, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a local monitoring group that has warned fatalities could be even higher.

Aung Thura, a journalist with the BBC’s Burmese service, was detained by men in plain clothes while reporting outside a court in the capital Naypyidaw on Friday.

The broadcaster confirmed on Monday in a news story on its website that he had been freed but gave no further details.

Scores of people, including teachers, marched on Monday through the pre-dawn streets of Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city, some carrying placards calling for UN intervention in the crisis.

Mandalay has seen some of the worst violence of the crackdown and recorded eight more deaths on Sunday, a medical source told AFP, adding that as many as 50 people were injured.

Machine guns rang out late into the night across the city of 1.7 million.

“People were really scared and felt insecure the whole night,” a doctor told AFP by phone.

To protest the brutality of the crackdown, a group of doctors in Mandalay staged a “placard only” demonstration by lining up signs in the street, Voice of Myanmar reported.

A group of monks staged a similar “monkless” protest.

There were also early morning protests in parts of Yangon, the commercial capital and largest city, where drivers honked their horns in support of the anti-coup movement.

Residents in Yangon’s Hlaing township released hundreds of red helium balloons with posters calling for a UN intervention to stop atrocities, according to local media.

One man was also killed during daytime clashes with security forces in the central city of Monywa Sunday and hundreds turned out to protest a day later, local media reported.

Protests against the coup continue in cities and town across the country, including Mandalay and Yangon.

AP

EU sanctions

International concern has been growing over the junta’s brutal approach as the death toll climbs, with a senior UN expert warning the military is likely committing “crimes against humanity”.

But so far the generals have shown little sign of heeding calls for restraint as they struggle to quell the unrest.

In a fresh bid to step up pressure, the European Union is expected on Monday to hit 11 junta cadres with sanctions — in the form of travel bans and asset freezes.

The United States and Britain have already taken similar steps.

Myanmar’s regional neighbours have also weighed in, with Indonesia and Malaysia calling for an emergency summit of the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations to discuss the crisis.

Following the call, Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan embarked on a whistle-stop diplomatic tour including meetings in Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia.

On the commercial front, French energy giant EDF announced that a $US1.5 billion ($A1.9 billion) hydropower dam project in Myanmar had been suspended in response to the coup.

Australia and Canada have confirmed they are providing consular assistance to two business consultants detained in Myanmar.

It is understood that Matthew O’Kane and Christa Avery, a dual Canadian-Australian citizen, are under house arrest after trying to leave the country on a relief flight Friday.

The couple run a consultancy business in Yangon.

The Canadian and Australian foreign ministries have refused to comment further on the case.



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