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Moroccans protest

Moroccans protest Arab nations normalizing ties with Israel – Washington Post

RABAT, Morocco — Despite a government ban on large gatherings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, scores of demonstrators protested outside the Moroccan Parliament to denounce Arab countries agreeing o normalize ties with Israel.

Israel on Tuesday signed historic diplomatic pacts with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in a U.S.-brokered deal. Morocco was reported to be among other Arab countries considering a similar move, though the prime minister rejected the idea last month.

Protesters in Morocco’s capital of Rabat Friday waved Palestinian flags, decrying the deals as “treason” and chanting “Palestine is not for sale.”

The Palestinians view the pacts as a stab in the back from their fellow Arabs in the Gulf and a betrayal of their cause for a Palestinian state. Israel and Bahrain’s agreements have been condemned by many across the Arab world.

The protesters in Rabat also burned a mock Israeli flag. Dozens of police officers watched the scene from a distance.

Organizers interrupted the chanting occasionally to urge participants to wear masks and to respect social distancing rules.

“The normalization deals are an attack on the Palestinian people and their cause,” human rights activist Abdelhamid Amine told The Associated Press.

“We are calling on the Moroccan government not to follow suit and we urge it not to surrender to the Zionist and imperialist pressure like other Arab countries,” said Amine, former president of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights and one of the rally organizers.

Last month, Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani said the kingdom rejects any form of normalization with Israel.

“The Moroccan monarch, government and people will always defend the rights of the Palestinian people and Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said in a meeting with his Islamist party Justice and Development Party (PJD).

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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protest Thousands

Thousands protest in Mauritius over dolphin deaths after oil spill – The Guardian

Thousands of people protested in the Mauritian capital of Port Louis on Saturday, calling for an investigation into an oil spill from a Japanese ship and the death of at least 40 dolphins found near …
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Koran-burning protest

Protest against Koran-burning turns violent in Sweden – BBC News

Demonstrators burn tyres as protesters riot in the Rosengard neighbourhood of Malmo, Sweden, on 28 August 2src2src.

Image copyright
EPA

Protesters against the burning of a Koran by far-right supporters in Sweden have clashed with police during several hours of rioting.

Cars were set on fire and shop fronts were damaged in the clashes in the southern city of Malmö which have now been brought under control. There were several arrests.

Earlier on Friday, police barred far-right Danish politician Rasmus Paludan from attending the Koran-burning rally.

His supporters went ahead regardless.

Swedish police turned Mr Paludan back at the border, saying there was a two-year entry ban for him.

The head of the Danish far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party was given a month in jail for a string of offences including racism in Denmark early this year.

He was convicted of posting anti-Islam videos on his party’s social media channels.

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protest Thousands

Thousands protest in Mauritius over dead dolphins, demand resignations – Reuters

(Reuters) – Thousands of protesters demonstrated in the Mauritius capital Port Louis on Saturday to demand an investigation into an oil spill from a Japanese ship and the mysterious death of at least 40 dolphins that have been found near the site of the spill.

Environmentalists have called for an investigation into whether the dolphins died as a result of the spill caused when the bulk carrier, the MV Wakashio, struck a coral reef last month.

One protestor held a banner with a dolphin covered in oil reading “our lives matter” and another held one calling for the government to resign. Mauritian flags were waved across the packed square of St Louis Cathedral.

“We do not trust the government and the diluted information they’ve been feeding us regarding the management and responses to the oil spill,” Fabiola Monty, 33 a Mauritian environmental scientist, told Reuters from the square.

The government has said it will carry out autopsies on all the dead dolphins and has set up a commission to look into the oil spill. Two investigations are being carried out: one by the police on the crew’s responsibilities and one by a senior Shipping Ministry official on what happened to the ship.

So far veterinarians have examined only two of the mammals’ carcasses, which bore signs of injury but no trace of oil in their bodies, according to preliminary autopsy results.

The autopsy on the first two was conducted by the government-run Albion Fisheries Research Centre.

Autopsy results on 25 dolphins that washed ashore Wednesday and Thursday are expected in the coming days, according to Jasvin Sok Appadu from the Fisheries Ministry.

Local environmental group Eco-Sud, which took part in Saturday’s protest, said in a statement on Friday that representatives from civil society should be present during the autopsies and called for a second opinion from independent specialists.

Reporting by Giulia Paravicini in Addis Ababa; Editing by Frances Kerry

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Portland protest

Portland protest groups sue U.S. over tear gas, rubber bullets – POLITICO

It claimed the tactics are unlawful and said the presence of the agents in Portland violates “a foundational principle of American democracy” because the agents are essentially performing local police duties that are reserved for state and local authorities.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. after Portland’s mayor and the leaders of five other major U.S. cities appealed to Congress to make it illegal for the U.S. government to deploy agents to cities that don’t want them.

“This administration’s egregious use of federal force on cities over the objections of local authorities should never happen,” said the letter sent to U.S. House and Senate leaders from the mayors of Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Kansas City, Albuquerque, New Mexico and Washington.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty late Monday asked Wolf for a meeting to discuss a cease-fire and their desire for the removal of the extra federal agents deployed to Portland.

But U.S. Attorney for Oregon Billy J. Williams insisted Monday that the agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Federal Protective service will remain in Portland as long protesters continue attacking the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse continue.

Protests have roiled Portland for two months since the death of George Floyd, the Black man who died May 25 after he was pinned by the neck for nearly eight minutes by a white Minneapolis police officer.

In Portland, the demonstrations have increasingly targeted the federal courthouse and protesters have tried almost every night to tear down a fence erected to protect the building, set fires in the street and hurled fireworks, Molotov cocktails and bricks, rocks and bottles at the agents inside.

“It is not a solution to tell federal officers to leave when there continues to be attacks on federal property and personnel,” Williams said. ”We are not leaving the building unprotected to be destroyed by people intent on doing so.”

Protesters filled the streets again into the early hours Tuesday, gathering for the 60th night on the city block where the courthouse is located. They were met with tear gas, pepper balls and stun grenades fired by the federal agents guarding the building.

Hours after the smoke cleared in Portland, Attorney General William Barr appeared Tuesday in Congress and defended the aggressive federal law enforcement response to civil unrest, saying that “violent rioters and anarchists have hijacked legitimate protests” sparked by George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Barr told members of the House Judiciary Committee at a much-anticipated election year hearing that the violence in Portland and other cities is disconnected from Floyd’s killing, which he called a “horrible” event that prompted a needed national reckoning on the relationship between the Black community and law enforcement.

“Largely absent from these scenes of destruction are even superficial attempts by the rioters to connect their actions to George Floyd’s death or any legitimate call for reform,” Barr said of the Portland protests.

The U.S. Marshals Service has lined up about 100 people who could be sent to hotspots, either to strengthen forces or relieve officers who have been working for weeks, agency spokesperson Drew Wade said.

Kris Cline, principal deputy director of Federal Protective Service, said an incident commander in Portland and teams from the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice discuss what level of force is needed every night.

Cline declined to discuss the number of officers currently present or if more would be arriving.

Cline said Portland police should take over the job of dispersing protesters from the courthouse area from the federal officers.

“If the Portland Police Bureau were able to do what they typically do, they would be able to clear this out for this disturbance and we would leave our officers inside the building and not be visible,” Cline said.

Portland police have also come under fire for using tear gas to disperse protesters before the federal agents began defending the courthouse. A federal court order has recently barred them from using tear gas unless the police declared a riot — which they have done on several occasions.

Wheeler, the mayor, is deeply unpopular with some Portland residents for what they see as his failure to rein in the local police.

Portland’s City Council is set to vote Wednesday on whether to send a ballot measure to voters in November that would create a review board for the Police Bureau that’s independent from elected officials and city departments. The police union opposes the idea and has called the move illegal.

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Kongers protest

500,000 Hong Kongers cast ‘protest’ vote against new security laws – Reuters

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s opposition camp said on Sunday that over 600,000 citizens in the Chinese-ruled city cast ballots over the weekend in primaries it cast as a symbolic protest vote against tough national security laws imposed by Beijing.

The unofficial poll will decide the strongest pro-democracy candidates to contest elections in September to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council. Then, they aim to seize majority control for the first time from pro-Beijing rivals by riding a wave of anti-China sentiment stirred by the law, which critics say has gravely undermined Hong Kong’s freedoms.

While the primaries are only for the opposition camp, the level of participation is seen as a guide to popular opinion in the city of 7.5 million people, a major financial hub.

“A high turnout will send a very strong signal to the international community, that we Hong Kongers never give up,” said Sunny Cheung, 24, one of a batch of aspiring young democrats out lobbying and giving stump speeches.

“And that we still stand with the democratic camp, we still support democracy and freedom.”

Defying warnings from a senior Hong Kong official that the vote might fall foul of the national security law, residents young and old flocked to over 250 polling stations across the city, manned by thousands of volunteers.

Long queues formed, with people voting via their mobile phones after having their identities verified.

“SEE THE COURAGE”

Organisers said 592,000 people had voted online, and 21,000 had cast paper ballots at the end of two full days of polling, – more than expected, and representing around a third of voters who backed the democrats in an election last year.

“Even under the shadow of the national security law, there were still 600,000 people coming out,” said an organiser, Au Nok-hin. “You can see the courage of the Hong Kong people in this … Hong Kongers have created another miracle.”

The new law punishes what China describes broadly as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison and allows mainland security agents to operate officially in Hong Kong for the first time.

Despite this tactical vote to maximise their chances, some pro-democracy activists fear authorities may yet try to stop some candidates from running in September’s election.

“They can arrest or disqualify any candidate they don’t like under the national security law without a proper reason,” said Owen Chow, a young democratic “localist” candidate.

Slideshow (3 Images)

At a time when Hong Kong authorities have barred public marches and rallies for months on end amid coronavirus social restrictions, and arrested individuals for shouting slogans and holding up blank sheets of paper, the vote was seen as a crucial and rare window for populist expression.

“I can really feel that young people haven’t given up yet, even though we are facing a very depressing future,” said Prince Wong, 22, a candidate in the New Territories West district.

“It helps me become more determined to fight.”

Writing by James Pomfret; Editing by Catherine Evans

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protest Thousands

Thousands protest Indigenous Australians’ death in police custody – Al Jazeera English

People staged protests across Australian cities to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

They also demanded changes at home following the deaths of hundreds of Aboriginal people in police custody.

Meanwhile, a Sydney court overturned a government decision to ban the rally because of coronavirus restrictions, minutes before it started.

Al Jazeera’s Nicola Gage reports from Sydney, Australia.

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proposed protest

Hong Kong protest over proposed national security law met with tear gas – CNN

Hong Kong (CNN)Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong Sunday to oppose the Chinese government’s move to impose a controversial national security law, which threatens the city’s autonomy and civil liberties.

Police fired tear gas at the crowds less than an hour after the start of the march, which did not receive official authorization and went against coronavirus social distancing restrictions, which ban groups of more than eight people meeting. An online stream showed protesters throwing objects at police.
Protesters had begun gathering around midday in Causeway Bay, a busy shopping district, despite a heavy police presence across Hong Kong Island. Attempts to claim the march was a permitted “health talk” were unsuccessful, and police quickly declared the protest illegal and ordered people to disperse.
Several thousand people marched nevertheless, chanting slogans which became a familiar refrain in the city during the over six months of anti-government unrest, including “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times.”
Others chanted “Hong Kong independence, the only way out,” and others flew blue, pro-independence flags. Such activity could likely be illegal under the proposed security law. Beijing has often expressed outrage over separatist sentiment in the city, which remains a niche issue but gained influence during last year’s unrest.
Asked if she was worried about the potential repercussions of chanting such slogans, Macy Wong, 26, said that she was comfortable doing so, as others were doing the same.
“Independence is Hong Kong’s long-term goal,” Wong said. “Maybe it’s not feasible in the near future, but that’s ultimately what we want.”

Anti-sedition law

China announced Thursday that it plans to introduce a new national security law in Hong Kong — bypassing the city’s legislature — which is expected to ban sedition, secession and subversion against Beijing. It will also enable mainland Chinese national security agencies to operate in the city for the first time.
The announcement sparked immediate outcry from opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong, human rights groups and multiple international governments.
It also sent chills through the city’s financial markets with Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index plummeting more than 5% on Friday, its worst one-day percentage drop since July 2015.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Sunday that Beijing must institute the law in Hong Kong without delay.
Speaking to reporters during the National’s People’s Congress, Wang said it is the role of China’s central government to create a safeguard and enforcement mechanism for national security.
“We must get it done without the slightest delay,” Wang said.
Wang said the law, which bypasses the Hong Kong legislature, would create more stability and confidence in the Special Administrative Region and provide a better environment for security.
Beijing’s move implies much greater intervention in the city, which has largely been allowed to manage its own affairs since the former British colony became a semi-autonomous region of China more than 20 years ago.
“It is the end of ‘one country, two systems’,” said Dennis Kwok, a pro-democracy lawmaker, referring to the principle by which Hong Kong has retained limited democracy and civil liberties since coming under Chinese control. “(They are) completely destroying Hong Kong.”
The move is likely to fuel further anger and protests in the city, which was rocked by over six months of increasingly violent anti-government unrest last year.
Those protests began over proposed law that would allow for extradition to mainland China, but expanded to include calls for an independent inquiry into police brutality and greater democracy.
The legislation, expected to be passed by china’s National People’s Congress (NPC) later this month, is set to be introduced in Hong Kong through a rarely used constitutional method that will bypass Hong Kong’s legislature.
The law will have drastic effects on large swathes of Hong Kong society, from the city’s political sphere to media, education and international business.
Chinese officials and state media defended the law as vital to protecting national security in the wake of last year’s protests and a 17-year failure by the Hong Kong government to pass similar legislation, since the last effort was met with mass protests in 2003.
“National security is the bedrock underpinning a country’s stability. Safeguarding national security serves the fundamental interests of all Chinese people, including our HK compatriots,” NPC spokesman Zhang Yesui told a news conference in Beijing on Thursday.

Biggest blow since handover

Hong Kong has always prided itself on following the rule of law, with an independent judiciary and civil liberties far beyond what is allowed across the border in mainland China.
These rights are enshrined within the Basic Law — the city’s de facto constitution — and guaranteed (in theory) by an agreement between China and the United Kingdom when Hong Kong was handed over to Chinese rule in 1997. Hong Kong, unlike China, is also party to international treaties guaranteeing various civil liberties.
The new law challenges all of this. By criminalizing such a broad swath of ill-defined acts, it could give the authorities leeway to go after the city’s opposition as they see fit.
In China, sweeping national security laws have been used to target human rights activists, lawyers, journalists and pro-democracy campaigners. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who died in 2017 after more than a decade behind bars, was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the proposed national security law, warning that the passage of the legislation would be a “death knell” for Hong Kong’s autonomy.
“The United States strongly urges Beijing to reconsider its disastrous proposal, abide by its international obligations, and respect Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, democratic institutions, and civil liberties, which are key to preserving its special status under US law,” he said, adding that the US stands “with the people of Hong Kong.”

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