Longtime advisor to Gov. Newsom is charged with domestic violence

Longtime advisor to Gov. Newsom is charged with domestic violence for ‘pushing his wife into a glass door and attempting to suffocate their four-year old daughter with a pillow’

  • Nathan Ballard, 51, allegedly pushed his wife at a spa in Napa Valley in October 
  • She also told officers that Ballard had consumed ‘a large amount of alcohol’ 
  • An attorney for Mr Ballard called the charges ‘unsubstantiated allegations’ 

An advisor to Governor Gavin Newsom has been charged with domestic violence for allegedly pushing his wife into a glass door and attempting to suffocate their four-year-old daughter with a pillow.

The charges against Nathan Ballard, 51, are in connection to a drunken incident in October at the Carneros Resort and Spa in Napa Valley, California.

An attorney for Mr Ballard – a prominent California Democratic strategist who is a longtime friend and advisor to Gov. Newsom – called the charges ‘unsubstantiated allegations.’ 

According to Napa County Sheriff’s Department, Mr Ballard pushed his wife, then stumbled and fell, which left him bleeding from his head and nose. 

The wife has also accused him of also leaning his weight on a pillow over their four-year-old daughter’s face.  

An advisor to Governor Gavin Newsom (pictured) has been charged with domestic violence for allegedly pushing his wife into a glass door and attempting to suffocate their four-year old daughter with a pillow

The charges against Nathan Ballard, 51, (pictured) are in connection to a drunken incident in October at the Carneros Resort and Spa in Napa Valley, California

The charges against Nathan Ballard, 51, (pictured) are in connection to a drunken incident in October at the Carneros Resort and Spa in Napa Valley, California

She told investigators that she pushed him off, and took her daughter and a three-year-old boy into another room and locked him out. 

She also told officers that Ballard had consumed ‘a large amount of alcohol and some marijuana,’ and was suffering from a mental health episode. 

She reported the alleged attack to police on October 18, and Ballard was arrested and transported to the county jail on October 20.  

Ballard paid his set bail of $75,000 and was released later that day, according to documents from the Napa County Sheriff’s Department.

Ballard issued a statement in response on Thursday saying: ‘I’ve spent my career in crisis communications fighting on behalf of the wrongfully accused, and now for the first time I really know what it feels like to be in their shoes. 

An attorney for Mr Ballard - a prominent California Democratic strategist who is a longtime friend and advisor to Gov. Newsom (pictured) - called the charges 'unsubstantiated allegations'

An attorney for Mr Ballard – a prominent California Democratic strategist who is a longtime friend and advisor to Gov. Newsom (pictured) – called the charges ‘unsubstantiated allegations’

‘I will be exonerated. I love my children more than anything on earth, and we will be reunited.’

Mr Ballard’s lawyer said he resumed drinking in April after an eight-years of sobriety after the death of his father but is now sober again.

He is currently in a residential recovery program to deal with his drinking problem. 

The lawyer’s full statement said: ‘I am confident that my client, Nathan Ballard, will be fully acquitted of these charges after the District Attorney’s Office has a chance to review the facts and learn all sides of the story. 

‘Nate is a well-respected professional and a member of the bar with a spotless ethical record. He has no criminal history.’

‘Nate knows that he is not perfect, but he is facing his own challenges head-on.’ 

Mr Ballard also runs The Press Shop – a San Francisco media relations firm, and was a spokesman for Newsom during his days as the city’s mayor.

He also advised or represented former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, the Democratic National Committee, California’s state Democratic Party and the Golden State Warriors. 


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‘Ladies Beware of Richard Isaac’: How a 22-year history of domestic violence led to the murder of Victoria Selby-Readman

Victoria Selby-Readman believed Richard Isaac when he said he needed a place to stay because he’d been treated unfairly by his ex-girlfriend. She also needed a roommate to afford rent in her small downtown Toronto apartment after her boyfriend moved out following a breakup.

In fact, as Isaac moved in on May 15, 2018, there was a warrant out for his arrest.

Isaac, then 41, was wanted by Durham Regional Police for harassing and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend and for violating a 2017 probation order imposed after he was convicted of assaulting another ex-girlfriend and smashing her phone so she couldn’t call police.

But Isaac wasn’t arrested. And about three weeks after he moved in, he murdered Victoria Selby-Readman.

Interviews, court documents and police records obtained by the Star show Isaac has a long history of harassment and violence against multiple women in his life and a violent criminal record spanning 22 years. He spent 16 of those years on probation, during which he went through counselling for domestic abuse, alcoholism and anger management. By 2018, a judge declined the Crown’s request to place him on probation again for the ninth time, saying it had clearly made no difference in the past.

Years earlier, at Isaac’s fifth sentencing hearing for assaulting his wife, a judge went through his criminal record and said: “I fear very much, sir, that regardless of your sincerity and how upset you are, that you are inherently a dangerous man and you cannot control yourself.”

In the short time Isaac lived with Selby-Readman, the 28-year-old writer and bike courier grew increasingly upset by his drinking and verbal aggression.

Meanwhile, the harassment of his ex-girlfriend was escalating, prompting police to lay new charges after the ex-girlfriend gave a police statement during which Isaac was still trying to call her. When a police officer answered the phone and told him to stop contacting her, Isaac laughed.

The ex-girlfriend’s boss was so alarmed by Isaac’s actions that on May 23, 2018, she accompanied her terrified employee to the police station to insist Isaac be arrested, telling officers she was afraid of what Isaac might do.

“I told them: ‘This is going to end badly,” Renee John, the supervisor, said in an interview with the Star.

“Typically, a person, when a warrant is out for their arrest, they evade the police. Not this guy. He didn’t care.”

Selby-Readman was seen alive for the last time on surveillance cameras heading toward her apartment on the evening of June 8, 2018. She’d been frustrated about his drinking and had texted her dad that afternoon saying she wanted Isaac gone “today.” Police and prosecutors believe Isaac killed her that evening and remained in the apartment with her body — leaving only to buy more alcohol — until June 11 when his father picked him up.

According to prosecutors, Isaac replied to text messages from Selby Readman’s father the day after he killed her — a move to deter suspicion until he could flee.

After Isaac’s arrest for Selby-Readman’s murder on June 16, 2018 , police received several other reports he had been harassing and berating women he met via dating apps and Facebook, behaviour that had led to the creation of a Facebook group called: “Ladies Beware of Richard Isaac.”

Just over a month ago, on Oct. 29, a jury found Isaac guilty of second-degree murder. Nine of the 12 jurors recommended he get a life sentence with no chance at parole for 25 years, the maximum available.

The pattern that emerges from Isaac’s criminal history is immediately familiar to courts, inquests, policy-makers and advocates. His long history of domestic violence charges and convictions, a pending breakup, a terrified ex-girlfriend, his failure to comply with court orders, excessive alcohol use, obsessive behaviour, and his misogynist attitudes are all common risk factors in intimate-partner homicides. And though Selby-Readman was not his former partner, his proximity to her in their shared apartment as his harassment of his ex-girlfriend escalated put her at risk.

Experts say this case — like Renfrew County murders in 2015 and dozens more since — exposes the consequences of a justice system that has shown itself over and over again unable to rehabilitate domestic abusers and keep women safe.

John said she believes Selby-Readman’s death could have been prevented if more effort was made to find Isaac, who had shown obvious signs he was a danger to others.

“This was avoidable,” she said.

Court records show Isaac was first convicted of criminal harassment and assault in 1996, in Brampton. He was convicted of assaulting his wife a total of five times, serving brief stints in jail followed by probation for the first three until 2008 when he was sentenced to six months in jail and three years of probation for assault and failing to comply with a probation order. Heavy drinking was cited as a factor in his offending.

In October 2014, he was convicted for the last time of assaulting his wife of 20 years, who had by then filed for divorce.

“I may have had a case of a pattern of abusive behaviour that has more entries than that, but I cannot recall in the last 14 years that I have had anything as serious as that,” said the judge who sentenced Isaac.

According to the agreed facts, in May 2014 they were still living together with their two young children. After a heated argument at a basketball court that continued with Isaac yelling at his wife in the car until they got home, Isaac kicked her three times until she ran to her neighbour’s home to call 911. She also told the children to run and told police she was worried he would harm them. Police arrived to find Isaac drunk. Their scared son reluctantly told police that Isaac grabbed him by the shirt collar and threatened him saying: “If I come back, I’m going to kill you, I’ll cut your throat and rip your heart out.”

Isaac remained in jail after his arrest and a no-contact order with his wife was imposed by the court, but a few weeks after the assault, Isaac’s wife reported that he’d sent letters to their home addressed to his deceased mother. The letters, the content of which was clearly directed at his wife, included what the court described as “heartfelt apologies” aimed at reconciling with his family.

Isaac was convicted of assault, threatening death and breaching a noncommunication order. He served 11 months in jail with three more years of probation.

It’s unclear whether Isaac was required to participate in any counselling or rehabilitative programs during this period of probation, his eighth. A judge would later question the utility of a ninth probation in his case, though the Crown suggested it could be useful in getting him counselling. “Why should we burden probation when a person is obviously showing no interest?” Justice Ramez Khawly said.

Isaac’s court records show that he went to the Partner Assault Response (PAR) program, as well as anger management counselling and substance use counselling — though it is unclear how long he spent in counselling and if it specifically addressed domestic abuse. There remain limited programs or supports to help men who commit domestic violence and it’s unclear how effective the PAR program has been in general, said Pamela Cross, the legal director of Luke’s Place, which provides legal support to women facing domestic violence. The program, which was also controversially cut from 16 sessions to just 12 in 2015, is intended for first-offenders, not repeat offenders.

“If we want to stop men from being abusive to women, we have to work with men so that they don’t want to behave like that. But I’m not convinced we’ve taken the right steps to determine what the right program would be,” Cross said.

In 2016, Isaac met a woman on Tinder, according to court transcripts. After about six weeks, she ended the relationship but, she told police, Isaac would not stop texting her. He showed up at her house after midnight and knocked on her door. She called the police and he left. She asked police to tell him to stop contacting her.

The pair continued to see each other, and the woman broke up with Isaac again in April 2017. She told police Isaac was yelling at her, and when she told him to leave and that she’d call the police, he grabbed her phone and held her down on the couch so she couldn’t leave. Her landlord who lived above her heard banging and came down to see if the woman needed help. The woman said yes and went into her landlord’s home to call police. Isaac later called the police himself to report an assault. He was charged with assault, mischief and forcible confinement and was ultimately convicted of assault and mischief a year later. His bail conditions required him to live with his father in Brampton and to remain at home between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless he was in the presence of his surety.

He’d soon be charged with violating that bail condition.

In October 2017, Isaac began what an agreed statement of facts later described as an “acrimonious” relationship with another woman he’d met on Tinder. According to police reports, he moved into her downtown Toronto condo almost immediately and repeatedly assaulted her over the next few weeks. In mid-November 2017, police laid charges of assault, forcible confinement and mischief, as well as violating his bail conditions, and Isaac was denied bail. The charges were withdrawn on March 8, 2018, when the woman recanted her statements to police.

Experts familiar with domestic violence cases say recantation by a victim is common for several reasons, including fear of their abuser; pressure from the abuser or his family; continued love for their abuser; and concern about the consequences he might face, including his safety in jail or the loss of a job. Recanting doesn’t automatically mean the abuse did not occur, said Farrah Khan, manager of Ryerson’s Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education. “It can be part of a safety plan or a harm-reduction strategy,” she said.

Isaac pleaded guilty to breaching a bail order because he called her from jail a month after he was arrested. “He told her that he loved her, that I’ll be back and that I’m never going to hurt you again,” the Crown said describing the agreed facts on March 9, 2018. The Crown sought a probation order, with a no-contact order revocable with her consent.

When asked if he had anything to say, Isaac told the court: “I won’t do it again.” But if a no-contact ordered was granted, he said, the couple would soon apply for it be lifted.

Justice Khawly said he had his “own views” about the woman’s testimony, and noted Isaac’s long record. “If you don’t think you’ve got a circle on your back, a nice mark with an X, if you don’t think the cops are looking out for you you are kidding yourself … that record gives them impetus to say that’s a bad apple,” he told Isaac.

He sentenced Isaac to time-served, with year-long peace bond and a no-contact order revocable with written consent from the woman.

Later that month, Isaac was given a suspended sentence for his charges related to his other former girlfriend and a two-year probation order.

The relationship between him and his current girlfriend began to break down in April and May 2018, according to a later agreed statement of facts.

The no-contact order was lifted with her consent and the couple reunited and moved in together for a few weeks.

In April, the woman’s sister called police to the Ajax home owned by the woman after a fight. The woman told police she just wanted Isaac to leave and he did. No charges were laid.

In early May, police were called to the home again, this time by the woman’s brother-in-law. Police were told by the woman that Isaac was living in an Ajax home she owned and that he was drunk and needed medical attention. Police arrested Isaac, believing he was banned from consuming alcohol, and took him to the hospital. He was released the same day when they realized he did not have an alcohol-related court order.

On the morning of May 12, police were called to the home by the basement tenant for reports of a man and woman fighting. The caller first believed there was a fight going on in-person but later realized it was by phone. Isaac was there and was initially handcuffed while police looked for the woman who was not there. Police then tried to find the woman, and spoke to her brother-in-law who said the woman had repeatedly come over to their home with injuries but that she didn’t want to report Isaac to the police. Isaac had been calling him too. He told police she was staying with a friend, but when police went there she’d gone.

When police went back to the Ajax home to arrest Isaac that afternoon, he’d gone. Durham Police sent a message to Peel police to try and arrest him at his father’s house in Brampton, and police contacted Isaac by phone to tell him to turn himself in. He was wanted on two counts of criminal harassment.

Three days later, on May 15, 2018, he moved in with Selby-Readman.

“She had everything planned,” Selby-Readman’s best friend Alexandra Palermo said. Selby-Readman needed a temporary roommate just until she could start working more hours as a bike courier. It would mean cutting down the time she could spend writing — Selby-Readman was a fan of Sylvia Plath and Edgar Allan Poe and was working on her own collection of short stories — but it would also give her independence, which she was excited about, Palermo said. She believes Selby-Readman found Isaac in a community Facebook group and he moved in almost immediately on May 15, 2018.

It was three days after police put out the warrant for him.

“This is something you never think would happen,” Palermo said.

Victoria Selby-Readman, seen here in another family photo.

Isaac continued to harass his ex-girlfriend even after the warrant for his arrest was issued, according to a series of police reports she made.

The woman was reached by police and said she told them she was afraid for her safety. Police connected her with Victim Services. She called police the next day because she was afraid to go into the home alone, but then said she’d return later with a relative. Police told her Isaac had not been arrested.

She called police again on May 14, 2018, and tried to do a three-way call but Isaac hung up. He still had not been arrested and the officer she spoke to put in a request to expedite the warrant.

On May 16, she called police thinking Isaac was in her backyard. She showed them 25 phone calls, along with messages he’d sent her in breach of their no-contact order. She also showed police photos of her damaged work laptop. But though she was afraid of him, police records state that she also maintained she did not want Isaac to be charged and refused to provide a statement. She said she didn’t want him to go to jail and that he was going through mental health problems.



Meanwhile, Selby-Readman was becoming alarmed by Isaac’s drinking, her friend Palermo said. She started to want to be at home less. When Isaac first moved in, he was injured and stayed home but once he became mobile again, the drinking got worse.

Palermo said Selby-Readman didn’t seem afraid of Isaac — she didn’t think he’d harm her or that it had reached the point where the police should be called. But she also didn’t want to be around him drunk.

Shortly after Isaac moved in, Selby-Readman sent Palermo a text message with Isaac’s Facebook details.

“You need to know who this guy is in case anything get crazy bc no one knows he’s here,” she said. She had only told her parents she had a roommate but didn’t give them details.

Palermo said the message was sent in the way young women share photos and licence plate numbers of dates when meeting someone for the first time. A survival mechanism so common that it wasn’t hugely alarming on its own — though it made Palermo encourage Victoria to have Isaac move out as soon as possible. Thinking about it now, she said, is chilling.

On May 18, Selby-Readman texted Palermo and said: “I want to kick this fkn idiot out of my place he’s so annoying,” and: “He is so crazy yelling at (his ex-girlfriend) literally all fkn night.” She complained about him drinking and considered calling the police. Palermo warned her to be careful Isaac isn’t violent and Selby-Readman said that if she did call the cops, she’d wait in the hall or the lobby for them or with building security.

In the following days, Isaac continued to harass his ex-girlfriend, eventually posting videos of his ex-girlfriend online in a “compromising position” where she appeared drunk which caused her to be fearful of him, according to an agreed statement of facts.

Renee John, the woman’s supervisor, was immediately concerned when she saw the videos Isaac sent via the company’s Facebook page on May 21, including false claims that the woman didn’t have the degree she’d claimed, and that she was violent towards him.

“He was on a mission to decimate her character,” John said.

The woman had recently confided in John that she was ending an abusive relationship with Isaac, and John offered to help. As a volunteer victim services crisis responder in Durham region, she often helps victims of domestic violence and knew the danger her employee could be in. Less than two months earlier, her friend Krassimira Pejcinovski — an esthetician from a spa down the street from John’s Ajax home — was murdered alongside her two teenage children, allegedly at the hands of her ex-boyfriend.

After seeing the videos, John emailed Durham police, telling a detective in a May 22 email that police needed to see the videos.

“I am concerned for her safety,” John wrote.

On May 23, after Isaac continued to repeatedly call and message the woman, John accompanied her to the Durham police station in Pickering to give a statement, after which more charges were laid. While they were at the station, Isaac called the woman. Police said he laughed when they got on the phone with him.

The woman reported that he had been harassing her for weeks, contacting her sometimes up to 100 times a day causing her to fear for her safety. She said he’d threatened to kill her and her family and that, if she ever dated another man, he’d kill that man.

In her own statement to police, John said she believed Isaac was spiralling and wasn’t attempting to hide his behaviour from police, despite his arrest warrant.

“He wasn’t afraid. He clearly wasn’t concerned about repercussions,” John said.

A history of abuse and a recent breakup are two key risk factors in predicting domestic homicides, along with increasingly obsessive behaviour and an addiction that is no longer under control, said Cross.

Police noted that Isaac had not updated his address with his probation officer, in violation of his conditions.

Despite the arrest warrant and requests from the woman and John to take him into custody, Isaac wasn’t arrested.

The woman told Isaac’s probation officer and the police on June 5, 2018, that she thought he was living in the Harbourfront area of Toronto with a girl named “Nikki,” which could have been a reference to Selby-Readman.

Palermo and another friend of Selby-Readman’s told police that Isaac’s ex-girlfriend had gotten in contact with Selby-Readman, and text messages show Selby-Readman had learned that Isaac was wanted by police in some way.

The Star asked Durham police what efforts were made to locate Isaac while the warrant was out for his arrest, including whether officers in Toronto and Peel were contacted to join the search, or if Isaac’s probation officer was called to help find him. Dave Selby, a spokesperson for Durham police, said because Isaac’s case is still active — he has a sentencing hearing in December — “it would be inappropriate to discuss any details.”

Palermo still wants answers.

“If someone has a violent history and they are supposed to be checking in with their probation officer … why are you not going to find him?” Palermo said. “It’s just a file to them, but look what happened.”

Cross wonders whether a form of Clare’s Law could have helped Selby-Readman, and the other women who became involved in relationships with Isaac.

The law, which has recently been introduced in Saskatchewan and originated in the U.K., allows people — typically in the context of a new romantic relationship — to contact the police to request information about whether a person has a history of domestic violence. A review by a panel will then determine if the information can be given for safety planning purposes.

The Saskatchewan law, the Interpersonal Violence Disclosure Protocol Act, has raised privacy issues, and concerns about varying levels of participation among police forces. The RCMP has refused to comply, citing privacy reasons, though they were involved in the drafting of the legislation. And it’s unclear how often it will be used.

But Cross said it provides another tool to help prevent violence against women.

“That information might have influenced (Selby-Readman’s) decision to have (Isaac) share the rent with her,” Cross said. It may have also been useful to the women who dated him, Cross said, noting that it can become harder for a woman to report abuse the longer she is involved in the relationship, often because she wants to help their abusive partner get better.

There are also limitations on what the justice system can do. Cross said more needs to be done to ensure that women who come forward to report are treated with respect and dignity, and that they understand what the justice system can do for them. There also need to be other ways to address harm that women may be more willing to participate in that don’t rely on criminal consequences, she said.

Khan said providing wraparound services to domestic violence survivors is crucial, from housing to financial support.

This case is among several that show the need to look at how a history of domestic abuse can factor into murders that are not classified as domestic, Cross said — something that is expected to be part of the public inquiry in the April 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting. It’s part of the reason that femicides are documented and analyzed annually by the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability.

Palermo last saw her best friend — they called each other “beefs” in a play on BFF — two days before she was killed. They took Palermo’s dog for a walk and sat at a picnic table in a park in front of her home. They talked about her plans for the future.

There was so much she wanted to do, Palermo said.

“She had such a sharp mind, she was the smartest person I knew,” Palermo said.

Selby-Readman had studied women’s studies, literature, philosophy and political science at the University of Toronto. She hoped to have children one day and adored animals including her beloved cat Bunny. The friends had written and filmed a screenplay together, which now languishes on Palermo’s laptop.

Selby-Readman was loved fiercely by her parents, her family and her friends, Palermo said.

“She was the missing puzzle piece that completed everybody. Now we are missing our piece,” Palermo said. “There was always light around her.”

Alyshah Hasham
Wendy Gillis
Wendy Gillis is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and policing for the Star. Reach her by email at wgillis@thestar.ca or follow her on Twitter: @wendygillis

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Domestic Violence Of A Sydney Swans AFL Player

Described As A “A Scourge In The Community”

Elijah Taylor, a dumped Sydney Swans AFL player, has been fined a staggering amount of $5,000 for bashing his ex-girlfriend. His lawyer claimed it as a “loss of self-control” by a frustrated, pilloried and emotionally overwhelmed teenager.

The 19-year-old athlete has also been granted a spent conviction after he pleaded guilty to assaulting the 18-year-old woman at a city hotel last September. The accusations were repeatedly punching her and hitting her on her back with a belt.

Today, Perth Magistrates Court was told that the bashing started after the woman, Lekahni Pearce, saw a Snapchat message on Taylor’s phone and started hitting him when he was asleep.

She admitted to having planned on leaving him at one point, yet Taylor told her she was not going anywhere, consequently hitting the back of her head causing her to drop on her knee. 

The athlete was stood down by the Sydney Swans after he was charged, and earlier this week the club severed all ties with him, asserting that his behaviour “could not be reconciled”.

Seamus Rafferty, Taylor’s lawyer, however, hit out the club and the AFL as he told the court that the assault happened when Taylor was left in Perth “to fend for himself, without any assistance”. That was after he breached COVID-19 quarantine restrictions.

That was in August when he let Ms Pearce into his club’s Swan Valley accommodation where they were quarantining whilst playing AFL games in the Perth hub.

Mr Rafferty added that people, including the media, made “irresponsible” misconceptions about why the 19-year-old had let Ms Pearce into the hotel. The lawyer emphasized the real reason was that she had told him she had suffered a miscarriage.

He said Taylor had only wanted to see Ms Pearce to comfort her, telling a psychologist who interviewed him for the court hearing: “I really wanted to see her and be there for her … it wasn’t about sex.”

“He was pilloried by the media, the AFL and the WA Premier … but no-one knew the real reason,” Mr Rafferty strongly fought.

The lawyer had mentioned that Taylor went spiralling downhill because everything he had strived for at his young age was being deprived of him. Mr Rafferty had pinned that it was due to emotional frustration that he had lost his cool, given that he was “under significant pressure”.

Shortly after, it was revealed Ms Pearce had opted to have the assault charges dropped against Taylor. However, Mr Rafferty said that was too late, given he pleaded guilty at his very first court appearance.

Magistrate Deen Potter accepted Ms Pearce had started the violence and that Taylor’s response was the result of a build-up of frustration, but he said he went “well above what was required”.

The domestic violence was described as “a scourge in the community” pointing out that a message had to be sent to the community about how wrong it was.

The police prosecutor did not oppose Taylor being fined or being granted a spent conviction, but that means he will not have a criminal record.

It was heard that Taylor plans on moving to Victoria to restart his football career.

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Biden Energy Policies Will Make Blue New Mexico See Red

Lew Wallace, the former territorial governor of New Mexico (and author of Ben Hur), once said, “Every calculation based on experience elsewhere fails in New Mexico.”In so many ways Wallace was prescient about this beautiful, poor, and unique state in the American Southwest. One “calculation” about modern politics that would especially perplex him is the fact that a relatively poor but oil-rich Western state elects politicians that are so directly at odds with its economic best interest.After Texas and North Dakota, New Mexico is the third-largest oil-producing state in the U.S. The oil and gas industries combine to generate roughly 40 percent of its annual budget. Furthermore, New Mexico’s oil and gas resources are heavily concentrated on lands managed by the federal government. The central role of energy, especially energy extracted within the state’s borders and controlled by federal policy-makers, might lead one to believe that New Mexicans would vote for pro-energy Republicans in federal elections.Instead, New Mexico has become a safely blue state. It narrowly went for George W. Bush in 2004 but since then has gone for Democrats by wide margins. The situation is even more stark at the state level, where Democrats have had “trifectas” (total control of both houses and the governor’s mansion) for 60 of the past 90 years. The GOP hasn’t had such governing authority in the state for a single year since 1931 and, despite significant turnover, has not elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate since Pete Domenici retired in 2009.In 2020 Biden won the state 54.3 percent to 43.5 percent despite the fact that President Trump’s pro-energy policies have been a boon to the New Mexico economy and that the Biden administration’s energy policies are a dagger aimed at the heart of New Mexico’s economy.That “dagger” comes in the form of the numerous — sometimes clear, often conflicting — statements that candidate Biden made during the campaign. It is unclear what Biden will do about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which enables oil and gas producers to access previously inaccessible oil and gas sources. He backed away from an outright nationwide ban late in the campaign. However, Biden has clearly stated that he would ban new gas and oil permits — including fracking — on federal lands.Targeting federal lands would devastate New Mexico’s oil and gas industry and its economy, because of the state’s large federal estate. According to the Institute for Energy Research, 34.7 percent of the land in New Mexico is federal. In fiscal year 2019, New Mexico received energy-related disbursement (from the federal Bureau of Land Management) of  $1.17 billion, the highest payment made in any state (Wyoming was next, with $641 million, and then Colorado, with $108 million). This was the highest payment from the bureau in the state’s history and compares with $455 million in FY 2017. A vast majority of this increased revenue is a result of fracking.Furthermore, data from the Global Energy Institute indicate that if energy production on federal lands were banned, New Mexico would lose 24,300 jobs (10,000 direct, 14,300 indirect and induced), a significant hit for a state with a workforce of around 900,000. Making matters worse, a good number of the “direct” jobs lost are good-paying — something that is not easy to find in New Mexico, a state that consistently ranks among the poorest in the nation and has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Closing New Mexico’s federal lands to energy production entirely would cost the state $496 million in annual royalty collections, representing 8 percent of the state’s total General Fund Revenues.Biden’s proposed fracking ban is even too much for New Mexico’s Democratic governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has said that she’ll ask for an exemption from any future drilling ban. Acknowledging the tax-revenue contributions to education funding, Grisham explained to the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association conference in Santa Fe last October that “without the energy effort in this state, no one gets to make education the top priority.”To be sure, Lujan Grisham is broadly supportive of Biden’s energy policies. (She’s even on the president-elect’s short list for administration positions.) Both of them have stated that they would like to “transition out of fossil fuels” despite New Mexico’s financial dependence on the industry.But Biden’s aggressive anti-fossil-fuels stance as it relates to federal land not only puts him at odds with Lujan Grisham, it puts him far to the left of President Obama on the issue. In a 2012 presidential debate, Obama stated, “We’ve opened up public lands. We’re actually drilling more on public lands than the previous administration. . . . And natural gas isn’t just appearing magically; we’re encouraging it and working with the industry.”President Obama was of course considered an environmentalist by political opponents and supporters alike. His support for natural-gas right isn’t difficult to reconcile with his environmental track record. That’s because (when used in a new power plants), natural gas emits 50 to 60 percent less CO2  than a typical new coal plant.Obama understood the vast benefits of natural gas, including the fact that it was appropriate to drill for it on federal lands. During his tenure, natural-gas production rose some 35 percent, from approximately 21 million cubic feet to more than 28.4 million cubic feet.If he truly cares about the environment, Biden would be wise to follow his predecessor’s playbook. According to the EPA, U.S. net greenhouse-gas emissions went down by 10 percent from 2005 to 2018, and much of the contribution to that decline in recent years was “due to an increasing shift to use of less carbon dioxide-intensive natural gas for generating electricity and a rapid increase in the use of renewable energy in the electric power sector.” But if natural-gas prices rise — and a ban on federal leasing is likely to contribute to higher prices — these positive developments could go into reverse. The Energy Information Administration recently projected that higher natural-gas prices would cause coal’s share of power generation to increase from 18 percent to 22 percent in 2021.Obama also signed into law legislation that ended the U.S. government’s restrictions on crude-oil exports back in 2015.During the campaign, Biden faced tremendous pressure from the left wing of his political base to come out for policies such the Green New Deal and bans on fracking and other fossil-fuel-based energy production. Biden has never been associated with such hard-Left stances against economic policy and growth in the past. Remember, even Obama is to the right of where Biden campaigned.Let’s hope that President Biden has a more realistic approach to energy than did candidate Biden. New Mexico’s economic future is certainly at stake, but so is the recovery of our nation’s virus-hobbled economy.Rather than instituting a blanket ban on production of oil and gas on federal lands, a better approach would be to recognize the benefits and work to make sure that any production is handled responsibly and safely. The growing American energy sector and American energy independence have delivered wins for the environment, for consumers, and for the U.S. and state economies such as New Mexico’s. Let’s keep it that way.

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Migrant women face struggle to escape hidden nightmare of domestic violence in Australia

Kicked, beaten, strangled and even stabbed — this is the reality for many women abused by their own husbands behind closed doors in Australia, away from their home countries.

Family and domestic violence does not discriminate, but its occurrence in migrant and multicultural communities is often hidden and sometimes even considered to be the norm or part of marriage.

This is how migrant women from across various cultures are being primed for a life of abuse and violence.

Despite the cultural barriers restricting them from reaching out, a growing number of women are defying those norms.

Nora, who had a daughter with her ex-husband, says she “knew something was not right” early on.(ABC News: Herlyn Kaur)

Originally from Indonesia, Nora* met her now ex-partner on holiday in Perth.

She fell pregnant with their first child shortly afterwards, before going back to Indonesia to get married.

The couple eventually decided to settle down in Perth.

“I came here and I knew something was not right,” Nora recalled.

Isolated from her family back home, without any support and not knowing who to turn to, Nora kept the abuse to herself for years.

A woman sits on a swing with her daughter.
Nora says her ex-husband became violent when she refused his advances.(ABC News: Herlyn Kaur)

“I think the shame [was the main thing]. I don’t want my dad, my family to tell me ‘I told you so’, so that’s why I have been keeping it a secret.

“It’s eating me up, really. It hurts.

“I know what my family is like, that’s why I don’t want to tell them.

“They’re going to blame me for leaving. They’d be like, ‘well, maybe you should’ve tried different things, because that’s not what Muslim women do, maybe you should do what your husband tells you’. So I just don’t want to tell them.”

Having seen abuse as a child, what Nora experienced was not unfamiliar to her.

“I grew up literally seeing my aunty being beaten up by my uncle and no-one says anything,” she said.

‘He married me to exploit me’

Unfortunately, Nora’s story is far from uncommon.

Having left her home country of Ghana, Gabrielle* also moved to Perth when she married her now ex-husband, after meeting him when he was on holiday in Africa.

A photo in profile from behind of a woman looking out a window.
Gabrielle says she suffered racism at the hands of her husband and his family.(ABC News: Herlyn Kaur)

She said the abuse was gradual and started when she fell pregnant.

“He married me to exploit me sexually for his own selfish reasons, and when I said no, the abuse [would] escalate,” she said.

Gabrielle believes she was also never accepted by her then in-laws and was mistreated purely because of her ethnicity.

“They treated me like a piece of furniture, just because I’m black,” she said.

“It wasn’t hidden. They were very racist.”

Being so far removed from her family, Gabrielle said the isolation made everything worse.

“It took me three years to tell them … because I didn’t want my dad to say ‘I told her so’,” she said.

While Gabrielle still fears for the safety of her son and herself, her only regret is not having left sooner.

‘Saved’ by move to Australia

Afghani migrant Mina* immigrated to Perth seven years ago from Iran.

Up until about a year ago, when she decided to leave her marriage, Mina endured decades of physical, emotional and financial abuse from her ex-husband, who was also allegedly having affairs with other women.

A woman wearing a headscarf sits on a couch.
Mina says her abuse included being stabbed, kicked and thrown from a motorbike.(ABC News: Herlyn Kaur)

She told the ABC her story via an interpreter.

“The abuse continued for many years and in Perth as well … I didn’t have anyone to support me … I had to put up with beatings.

“He stabbed me twice on the thigh and back … there are still scars there.

“I was seven months’ pregnant when he kicked me in the stomach … I was pregnant again when he threw me from a motorbike.”

Mina believes that moving to Australia saved her life.

“Multiple times it occurred to me to go to the police, but it’s very apparent and obvious in Iran that there’s no such support from the authorities and the police for women.

“If you go to the police, usually they’re men and to get help or for them to listen to you, you’ve either got to bribe them or know someone high up to get your voice heard.

“If I told the hospital staff I had been beaten and there was police involvement, and if my husband found out I had told them, he could’ve killed me.”

‘There were bruises everywhere’

Mina’s main support system now lies within a network of social workers, psychologists and other domestic violence survivors at Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre in Mirrabooka.

It’s where Sushila* sought refuge, too.

She got married in India to a man she knew for years and thought she had known well enough.

A woman sits on a couch with her hands clasped in her lap.
Just a day after their marriage, Sushila says her husband became abusive.(ABC News: Herlyn Kaur)

“He proposed, he said he loved me, he wanted to marry me … I said, okay, family agrees, I’ll say yes,” Sushila recalls.

“I was in my late 20s, and in India you get married at 18 … so my mum was really, really worried about when [I was] going to get married, and she knew that he was in my life.”

Sushila doesn’t recall ever seeing any red flags before marrying him, but that quickly changed.

“It was a shock for me, and I was like, ‘oh, I didn’t sign up for this’.

“I remember one day, he bashed me so much … I went upstairs, I looked in the mirror and I was black and blue. There were bruises everywhere.”

In Sushila’s culture, married women are usually expected to live with their husband’s family, which only added to her grief.

She was expected to cook three meals a day for everyone, clean the house and work full time.

“I felt as if I was treated like a servant,” she said.

Limited knowledge of rights a problem

A common thread throughout these women’s stories is how their upbringing, culture and communities back home influenced their decision to put up with the abuse.

The very idea of even confiding in someone about the horrific violence they experienced, let alone reaching out for help, was incomprehensible.

A silhouetted woman sits on the ground holding head in her hands.
There are concerns about an increase in the number of migrant women seeking help to escape domestic violence.(ABC News: Margaret Burin)

“My upbringing was, if you’re married, you have to do all that you can to maintain your marriage,” Sushila said.

“Once you get married, you are married, and once you leave your husband, you leave when you’re dead.

“So that’s the kind of attitude and things that I grew up with.

At Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre, women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds are able to seek help and find support for various issues.

Ishar’s services include assistance in filing violence restraining orders (VROs) and understanding women’s rights in Australia, along with providing counselling and access to support workers.

Over the last several years, Ishar has seen a major increase in the number of women seeking help.

There are now more than 300 women it supports for family and domestic violence (FDV) related issues, compared to 89 women in 2018.

On average, the centre assists 12 new women per month who are experiencing FDV.

Ishar chief executive Andrea Creado said police data and general statistics did not reflect the true number of CALD women experiencing FDV, because many women were hesitant to report abuse due to cultural stigma and lack of knowledge regarding services.

“COVID-19 restrictions saw FDV increase by 5 per cent in the general population according to the police. At Ishar our services increased by 20 per cent,” she said.

“Many of the women involved have only recently arrived in Australia.

“They have very limited English, are without knowledge of the rights of women in Australia and may still require the assistance of interpreters.

“Abusive partners restrict access to English language classes as a form of isolation and control.”

‘No right to work, no right to be here’

On the outskirts of Perth, Koolkuna Women’s Refuge has seen a growing number of women seeking help over recent years, particularly migrant women.

Mary, who is operational manager at Eastern Region DV Services — and asked for her surname not to be published for safety reasons — said the types of cases she saw were often strikingly similar.

A woman wearing a brown and white floral top sits in front of a computer.
Mary, from Eastern Region DV Services, says a shortage of affordable housing is part of the problem.(ABC News: Herlyn Kaur)

“We have women who come to us and they are married, their husband is a permanent resident, they’ve been married for a few years with maybe one child living in their home country,” she said.

“The husband brings the child out on an Australian passport because he can, and he brings his wife out on a tourist visa, which allows her no rights in this country at all.

“It’s everything about abuse rolled in one. It’s physical, financial, emotional — I mean, it takes her rights away completely.

“So a big question for me is, how [the Department of] Immigration think that’s okay?”

As with many shelters for women escaping abusive relationships, Mary has seen countless women with children who have been on the brink of homelessness, with almost zero options for help.

She said because many migrant women had children in Australia with their abusive partners, legally they would not be allowed to go back to their country of origin without the approval of their partners, leaving them trapped.

That, coupled with their lack of spoken English, made their journey of navigating the system to escape the violence and abuse all the more gruelling.

“It’s particularly difficult because they’re not eligible to go on any housing list, they’re not eligible for any income,” Mary said.

“If they’re lucky, they’ll qualify for a family tax benefit for their children and only that.

“I think there’s a real need for more housing, more affordable housing … that’s not just for women in domestic violence situations, it’s right across the board.

“I think people need to have a safe place to live first and then you can work with everything else after that.”

155 nights spent in refuge

Koolkuna Women’s Refuge chief executive Robyn Fitall said the facility was only able to accommodate four families at a time, which often meant many had to be turned away when their rooms were full.

A photo of a woman with long hair standing in front of a bookshelf.
Robyn Fitall, from Koolkuna Women’s Refuge, says many women have no other housing options.(ABC News: Herlyn Kaur)

Ms Fitall said non-CALD women stayed an average of 32 nights, compared to 46 nights for CALD women, with the longest stay being 155 nights.

“No one is interested in making someone homeless, therefore we have to hang on to these women a lot longer because they have no housing options, they have no financial standing,” she said.

“We struggle to get that support for them, financially, to be able to achieve those goals. Couple that with Australian-born children … and then that restrictiveness on how they can return home, and potentially what that could look like for them.

*Names have been changed to protect the safety and identity of domestic violence survivors.

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Tme to halt gender violence

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

As impact of COVID-19 intensifies, UN Women calls for concrete actions to respond to the concurrent shadow pandemic

Galvanizes partners to fund organizations, respond to survivors’ needs, prevent violence and collect data to build a post-pandemic “new normal” as the 16 Days of Activism campaign kicks off

Unprecedented crisis

New York, November 25 – As the COVID-19 pandemic and a prevailing culture of impunity threaten progress achieved on gender equality and ending violence against women and girls, UN Women is calling for robust and decisive action in response to this unprecedented crisis on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. In the run up to the 2021 Generation Equality Forum – where global actors will step up to make bold new commitments to eradicate violence against women – governments, civil society, youth, influencers and the private sector will lend their voices for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, a global mobilization campaign that runs from today until 10 December. Together, they will demand a reset and to build a “new normal” that delivers a future without violence for all women and girls.

Even before COVID-19, violence against women was one of the most widespread violations of human rights, with almost 18 per cent of women and girls experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner over a 12-month period. As the pandemic raged on, an alarming upsurge of the “shadow pandemic” of violence against women became evident, with increased rates of reporting on domestic violence, as well as in the streets, online and in a variety of settings. Calls to helplines increased up to five-fold in some countries during the first weeks of the coronavirus  outbreak – while in others, they decreased given the inability of women to seek help through the regular channels, while sheltered in place with their perpetrators. Projections show that for every three months the lockdown continues, an additional 15 million women are expected to be affected by violence.
“We have seen the whole world respond to the coronavirus pandemic, with all hands on deck, and with responsive investment and protocols backed by determination. Violence against women is also a pandemic – one that pre-dates the virus and will outlive it. As we face COVID-19’s devastation, there has never been a more important moment to resolve to put our combined resources and commitment behind the biggest issues, and to end violence against women and girls, for good,” said UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
In response to a “cease-fire at home” called by the UN Secretary-General earlier this year, almost 150 countries agreed to make  ending violence against women and girls a key part of their response plans for COVID-19. Many have followed through with stronger essential services, such as shelters, helplines and other reporting mechanisms.  Yet, only 48 countries, less than a quarter of the 206 analysed in a recent study, treated violence against women and girls-related services as an integral part of their national and local COVID-19 response plans, with very few adequately funding these measures.

Addressing the pervasive under-resourcing of this critical issue, UN Women has convened the Action Coalition on Gender-based Violence, an innovative partnership of governments, civil society, youth leaders, private sector and philanthropies to develop a bold agenda of catalytic actions and leverage funding to eradicate violence against women. These bold actions and investments will be announced at the Generation Equality Forum in 2021, in Mexico and France, along with those of other five Generation Equality Action Coalitions.

Orange the World: Fund, Prevent, Respond, Collect!
The 16 Days of Activism, which is powered by grassroots organizations globally, is an opportunity to leverage the renewed sense of urgency COVID-19 has created and propel concrete action against gender-based violence. In the lead up to the International Day commemoration, UN Women has appealed to Member States to make concrete, tangible commitments during the 16 Days of Activism.

This year’s theme, “Orange the World: Fund, Prevent, Respond, Collect!”, announced by the UNiTE campaign, bolsters the UN Secretary-General’s appeal and UN system-wide rapid response to the alarming surge in violence against women and girls seen this year.
“Together, we must tackle male violence that affects and damages everyone – families and communities, societies and economies – and holds back all our efforts for peace and security, human rights and sustainable development. We need to increase accountability and question attitudes and approaches that enable violence. And we must provide resources for women’s civil society organizations on the front lines,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
In that vein, this year’s campaign urges all governments and partners to accelerate concrete policy responses within four areas:
o    FUND essential services on gender-based violence and women’s organizations working on the issue in all COVID-19 response efforts
o    PREVENT gender-based violence though mobilization campaigns and a zero-tolerance policy
o    RESPOND to survivors’ needs for services like hotlines, shelters and justice response, even during lockdowns
o    COLLECT data to improve services, programmes and policies  
Addressing gender-based violence in humanitarian contexts

Women and girls are disproportionately affected by humanitarian crises. COVID-19 has shown the need to prioritize the rights and needs of women and girls in humanitarian crises. Intimate partner violence and other forms of violence increased as women were trapped inside their homes, tents and refugee camps with abusers during lockdown.

Signaling the increasing needs for financial resources to address this, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today announced a contribution of USD 8 million to UN Women to fight gender-based violence in emergency contexts.
This new allocation, from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) will provide much needed boost to help local women-led and women’s organizations working in humanitarian emergencies to prevent gender-based violence, to facilitate access to justice, and to provide survivor-centred services to women and adolescent girls. It will also support women, including survivors of violence, to develop and lead transitional justice processes (i.e. measures to redress legacies of massive human rights abuse), at the local and national level. The funding will be channeled into two year-programmes in five countries where interventions specific to women’s needs are currently underfunded.  
Around the world
The UN official commemoration of the International Day will take place for the first time in a virtual format and will be an opportunity for Member States to strengthen and advance their commitments to end violence against women and girls. The event will count on the participation of the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, representatives from UN Member States, Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General and UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem. UN Women Goodwill Ambassadors Nicole Kidman and Cindy Bishop; SDG Advocate, UNODC Goodwill Ambassador and Nobel Peace Prize, Nadia Murad; and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Founder of Rise, Amanda Nguyen, among others, will participate via video.
As in previous years, iconic buildings and monuments all over the world will be lit in orange to call for a brighter future where women and girls can live free from violence, including the Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx in Egypt; the Moai statues in Eastern Island, Chile; the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova; the Kuwait Towers; and the Brussels Town Hall in Belgium. In the Netherlands, over 200 municipalities will be lighted up in orange in solidarity with survivors and to mark the 16 Days of Activism.
Hundreds of  events around the world will also shine a light on this shadow pandemic, including a TV-show style event in Thailand focused on leaders’ commitments to end gender-based violence during COVID-19; and a series of discussions, debates, art exhibitions in universities in Jordan on the role of men and youth in combating violence against women. In Bonn, Germany, there will be a feminist tour in which participants can discover a new side of the city’s past and present, learn about famous daughters of the city and about feminism, using GPS coordinates.
A human chain in Bangladesh; an online flash-mob with popular young video bloggers in Tajikistan; a video competition addressing violence against women migrant workers and trafficking in Indonesia; a training on self-defense to service providers and women’s organizations in Albania; and a high-level virtual event in Panama with representatives from Member States in the region, are also among the many events planned during the 16 Days.

Source: UN Women

Edited by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey


Photo: By Galeria del Ministerio de Defensa del Perú – https://www.flickr.com/photos/ministeriodedefensaperu/43628387765/in/dateposted/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=72655611

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Segregated cities – Why Sweden struggles to curb gang violence | Europe

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Police fire tear gas at Paris protest against police violence

Paris: Police fired tear gas and stun grenades during a protest march against police violence in Paris on Saturday after masked protesters launched fireworks at their lines, put up barricades and threw stones.

The majority of the thousands of protesters marched peacefully, but several small groups clashed with police. Two cars, a motorcycle and building materials were set on fire, which generated clouds of black smoke visible from miles away.

Firefighters pull out a fire on a burning car during a protest in Paris.Credit:

Thousands of people also marched in Lille, Rennes, Strasbourg and other cities.

The protests follow the publication this week of CCTV footage of the minutes-long beating of Black music producer Michel Zecler by three police officers in Paris on November 21.

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Police fire tear gas at Paris protest against police violence

Paris: Police fired tear gas and stun grenades during a protest march against police violence in Paris on Saturday after masked protesters launched fireworks at their lines, put up barricades and threw stones.

The majority of the thousands of protesters marched peacefully, but several small groups clashed with police. Two cars, a motorcycle and building materials were set on fire, which generated clouds of black smoke visible from miles away.

Firefighters pull out a fire on a burning car during a protest in Paris.Credit:

Thousands of people also marched in Lille, Rennes, Strasbourg and other cities.

The protests follow the publication this week of CCTV footage of the minutes-long beating of Black music producer Michel Zecler by three police officers in Paris on November 21.

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Protests Over Security Law As France Reels From Police Violence

Dozens of rallies are planned Saturday against a new French law that would restrict sharing images of police, only days after the country was shaken by footage showing officers beating and racially abusing a black man.

The case shocked France with celebrities and politicians alike condemning the officers’ actions, and has brought debate over President Emmanuel Macron’s law to boiling point.

Macron on Friday called the incident an “unacceptable attack” and asked the government to come up with proposals to “fight against discrimination”.

One of the most controversial elements of the new law is Article 24, which would criminalise the publication of images of on-duty police officers with the intent of harming their “physical or psychological integrity”.

It was passed by the National Assembly last week — although it is awaiting Senate approval — provoking rallies and protests across France.

Rally organisers are calling for the article to be withdrawn, claiming that it contradicts “the fundamental public freedoms of our Republic”.

“This bill aims to undermine the freedom of the press, the freedom to inform and be informed, the freedom of expression,” one of Saturday’s protest organisers said.

Trade unions are expected to join the demonstrations, with members of the yellow vests — whose sometimes violent protests in 2018 and 2019 shook the country — also expected.

In Paris, the authorities had demanded that organisers limit the rally to a single location, but on Friday evening officials authorised a march.

And in a sign that the government could be preparing to backtrack, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Friday that he would appoint a commission to redraft Article 24.

French protestors rally in Nantes on Friday against the new security law with more demonstrations expected on Saturday

Under the article, offenders could be sentenced to up to a year in jail, and fined 45,000 euros ($53,000) for sharing images of police officers.

The government says the provision is intended to protect officers from doxxing and online abuse, but critics say it is further evidence of the Macron administration’s slide to the right.

But media unions say it could give police a green light to prevent journalists — and social media users — from documenting abuses.

They point to the case of music producer Michel Zecler, whose racial abuse and beating at the hands of police was recorded by CCTV and later published online, provoking widespread criticism of the officers’ actions.

In another instance, journalists on the ground at a French migrant camp witnessed and recorded police brutality on Monday as the Paris area was cleared.

In a letter seen by AFP, Paris police chief Didier Lallement wrote to officers ahead of Saturday’s demonstration that “in the coming days, the coming weeks… there’s no doubt you will face difficulty, doubt, even anger and fear”.

But he insisted that he could “count on the integrity, sense of honour and ethics” among the force.

Protests over police brutality have already taken place elsewhere in country.

In the southern city of Toulouse demonstrators took to the streets on Friday evening brandishing placards with slogans like “police everywhere, justice nowhere”.

In western Nantes police said around 3,500 rallied, while organisers put the crowd at 6,000-7,000.

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