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erupt protests

Protests erupt in Belarus after election results – CBS News

Protests erupt in Belarus after election results – CBS News
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protests shooting

166 die during protests after shooting of Ethiopian singer – The Guardian

Haacaaluu Hundeessaa was shot dead in Addis Ababa on Monday night, fuelling ethnic tensions





Ethiopian musician Haacaaluu Hundeessaa poses while dressed in a traditional costume during the 123rd anniversary celebration of the battle of Adwa in Addis Ababa.







Ethiopian musician Haacaaluu Hundeessaa poses while dressed in a traditional costume during the 123rd anniversary celebration of the battle of Adwa in Addis Ababa.
Photograph: Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

At least 166 people have died during violent demonstrations that roiled Ethiopia in the days following the murder of popular singer Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, police said Saturday.

The singer, a member of the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia’s largest, was shot dead by unknown attackers in Addis Ababa on Monday night, fuelling ethnic tensions threatening the country’s democratic transition.

“In the aftermath of Haacaaluu’s death, 145 civilians and 11 security forces have lost their lives in the unrest in the region,” said Girma Gelam, deputy police commissioner of Oromia region, in a statement on the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate.

Another 10 are known to have died in the capital Addis Ababa.

Girma said that a further 167 had “sustained serious injuries” and that 1,084 people had been arrested.

Officials have attributed the deaths to a combination of lethal force by security officers and inter-ethnic violence.

Girma added that the violent unrest had now “completely stopped”.

Haacaaluu’s music gave voice to Oromos’ widespread sense of economic and political marginalisation during years of anti-government protests that swept the prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, to power in 2018.

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probably protests

Protests probably didn’t lead to coronavirus spikes, but it’s hard to know for sure – The Washington Post

But after Floyd’s death, the streets filled with people shouting and yelling in proximity — sparking concerns among public health experts and local officials who had been urging people during the pandemic to stay at home or to engage in social distancing.

Now, some public health officials and disease trackers say there appears to be scant evidence the protests sparked widespread outbreaks. Others say that because many states reopened about the same time as the protests, and because of the limits of contact tracing, they simply can’t say for sure.

“I’m about to do a podcast laying out all I don’t know,” Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said last week. “And it’s a hell of a lot more than I know.”

As protests were building across the nation, hundreds of public health experts signed a letter arguing systemic racism is a public health crisis, too, and that protests were therefore worth the risk — even as many of them warned that protests could spread the virus. Cities hurried to set up testing facilities near protest sites to identify cases early.

The number of positive coronavirus tests in recent weeks have grown almost unchecked in many parts of the country. Hospitals in Arizona, California and Texas are stretched to the breaking point. Governors are resorting to the once politically unthinkable measure of shutting businesses again. But most experts say the protests are probably not to blame, or almost certainly not the only thing to blame in places where cases are soaring.

Absent a few positive tests among protesters announced here and there, the only major outbreak tied to protests happened in South Carolina, where organizers postponed demonstrations or moved them online after at least 13 people who took part in previous protests tested positive.

Organizer Lawrence Nathaniel posted a video to Facebook saying those testing positive marched in Columbia, S.C., between May 30 and June 17, including six protesters. four organizers of the demonstration and three photographers. According to South Carolina’s Joint Information Center, the state has not tracked data about whether new cases there are tied to the protests.

Meanwhile, data from other cities suggests protests have not been followed by an increase in cases of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed and where the protests began, has registered a steady decrease in case numbers this month.

According to Minneapolis Department of Health spokesman Doug Schultz, more than 15,000 people were tested at centers the city set up in communities affected by the protests, and 1.7 percent of tests came back positive — below the statewide average of about 3.6 percent. Health systems in the area that tested thousands of people who attended the demonstrations returned positivity rates of less than 1 percent.

Schultz said officials believe the low infection rates reflect that the protests were outside, that most people wore masks and that people spent most of their time in motion, circulating through the crowd.

Officials in New York and Philadelphia have drawn similar conclusions and say they see no evidence of cases accumulating because of the protests.

In Seattle; Portland, Ore.; and Oakland, Calif. — cities experiencing a coronavirus resurgence — officials have asked people testing positive whether they attended protests, and few said they had. Neetu Balram, a spokeswoman for Alameda County, which includes Oakland, said officials there figured they would have identified signs of a demonstration-related outbreak by now but haven’t.

The same is true in Seattle. Out of more than 1,000 positive tests in recent weeks, 34 of the people testing positive said they attended a protest or mass gathering since late May, according to King County Health Officer Jeff Duchin. Nearly 3,000 people who said they were at protests have been tested by the city, and fewer than 1 percent were positive, Duchin said.

“The data may be imperfect, but we certainly don’t have any evidence that those gatherings outdoors are triggering this increase we’re seeing,” Duchin said.

In other places, the impact of the protests is less clear. Brent Andrew, spokesman for San Francisco’s Department of Public Health, said the city is still monitoring potential ties between a recent surge in cases and protests. In Houston, at the epicenter of a covid-19 crisis in Texas, officials attribute rising case loads to a variety of factors — and say protests could be one.

Houston Health Department spokesman Porfirio Villarreal said rising cases there could also reflect infections spread at Memorial Day gatherings and other family events, such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day; graduations; bars where people failed to wear masks; and “people interpreting reopening as back to normal.”

Many states moved forward with reopening bars, restaurants, gyms and hair salons about the time the protests began. Some states — including Arizona, Florida and Texas — reopened as early as mid-May and were already seeing ominous trends before protests began. Surges in other states have also emerged 10 to 14 days after reopening — roughly the same time it can take someone who has been exposed to the virus to develop symptoms and undergo testing.

“You have many other things happening in states opening up. Really the only way, in my view, you can get a sense of where people get infected is through contact tracing,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, who added it is far easier to conduct contact tracing for a small gathering or family party than when tens of thousands of people pour into the streets.

Many of those participating in the protests were relatively young, Nuzzo said, and younger people are less likely to experience severe cases of covid-19 and therefore might be less likely to have symptoms that would prompt them to seek a test.

Still, available data suggests the protests did not ignite the same kind of outbreaks associated with some conferences, choir practices and religious services.

Many epidemiologists and virologists suggest being outside allows coronavirus-infected particles to disperse more easily, making outdoor gatherings — such as protests — less dangerous than those inside.

Angela L. Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University, said the difference in risk between indoor and outdoor settings can be explained by the way water moves through a fish tank as opposed to the open ocean.

In an indoor space, where air circulates through a limited area, people can be exposed to a higher concentration of respiratory droplets that may contain the virus. The more time people spend in that space, the more they will be exposed. Outside, while those droplets could reach others in the vicinity, they can also dissipate into the open air.

“While outdoor transmission is certainly possible, it does seem like it happens less frequently and that’s one of the reasons why: Your exposure is going to be higher indoors,” Rasmussen said.

Still, the relationship between being outside and exposure to the virus remains murky. Reports have surfaced of family barbecues or high school pool parties leading to major outbreaks, although it is unclear how much time people at those events might also have spent inside. Rasmussen said a variety of factors could explain why a small outdoor gathering spawns more covid-19 cases than a massive protest.

“If people are at a backyard barbecue, were they hanging out in the house together also? Were they in close proximity with each other? That would have an impact,” Rasmussen said. “I’d want to know if they were distancing, wearing masks, all of that.”

Economists from the Center for Health Economics and Policy Studies recently used anonymous cellphone data from the company Safeguard and covid-19 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to try to determine whether the protests spread the coronavirus.

The researchers explain in a preprint paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research that they tracked more than 300 of the largest cities in the United States to see whether protests led to increased case numbers. They also used cellphone data to track social distancing in cities that held protests.

The paper found “no evidence that net COVID-19 case growth differentially rose following the onset of Black Lives Matter protests.”

The paper also concluded that, based on cellphone data, social distancing increased overall in cities that were home to protests — meaning so many more people stayed home in cities with protests that it canceled out the lack of social distancing by protesters.

But according to Dhaval Dave of Bentley University, an author of the paper, one shortcoming of the study is that it tracks covid-19 prevalence in a city’s entire population. In other words, the protests might have contributed to a rise in cases among certain demographic groups that didn’t manifest in broader data — once again blurring evidence and dulling the conclusions that can be drawn from it.

“Unfortunately, we live with the elephant sign philosophy,” Osterholm said. “I put a sign up in my front lawn three years ago to say ‘no elephants allowed.’ I have not had an elephant on my lawn in three years. So you think, see, it works!

“Epidemiology requires we think about much more than that.”

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After protests

After protests, a Unilever skin cream popular in India will no longer promote a ‘Fair & Lovely’ look – The Washington Post

“Fair & Lovely” skin-care creams have been a mainstay of beauty aisles in stores across India and elsewhere in Asia for years. Not anymore.

On Thursday, the company Unilever said it would stop promoting skin “whitening” or “lightening,” and rebrand the skin-care line in response to critics who say the products promote harmful stereotypes around beauty and skin tone. But it won’t go as far as some have demanded: ridding stores of the creams and their connotations, no matter what they are called.

Along with similar brands, Unilever’s line has faced renewed scrutiny in recent weeks, amid a global reckoning with racial injustice, for promoting an image that white or lighter skin is more desirable than darker shades.

“We recognize that the use of the words ‘fair’, ‘white’ and ‘light’ suggest a singular ideal of beauty that we don’t think is right, and we want to address this,” Sunny Jain, the president of Unilever’s beauty and personal care division, said in a statement.

Some activists say changing the name and branding is only a start.

Poorna Bell, a writer who has been outspoken on the issue, told the BBC she found Unilever’s announcement “hugely disappointing” and called for the line to be discontinued all together.

“It doesn’t do enough to make reparations for the untold mental and emotional damage done by colorism,” she said, referring to discrimination against people with dark skin tones. “Renaming the products doesn’t mean anything — that’s still just colorism by another word.”

Unilever isn’t new to the controversy around skin lightening. Last year, the company removed “shade guides” and before-and-after images from product labels after campaigns by consumers.

The matter saw a resurgence earlier this month, when, like many businesses around the world, Unilever issued a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. “We have a responsibility for racial justice,” the company said in an Instagram post.

Critics responded with objections to the company’s messaging on whitening products.

“But what are you doing about helping to end racism?” one user wrote in response to the Instagram post. “Fair and Lovely needs to STOP creating a culture of shame! You aren’t committed to justice and equity until you stop manufacturing Fair and Lovely!”

Unilever is not alone. Having pledged to fight racism in response to global anti-racism protests following the police killing of George Floyd in May, consumers are questioning company’s track records.

Across much of Asia and Africa, skin-whitening products bring in millions of dollars in business for companies. In India, Bollywood stars have promoted them. In Africa, 40 percent of women bleached their skin, according to a 2011 study by the World Health Organization. The market research firm Global Industry Analysts estimated that the international market for skin-lightening cosmetics could reach $12.3 billion dollars by 2027.

But backlash is mounting, and companies have begun to respond.

Last week, Johnson & Johnson said it would stop selling skin-whitening products in India, Asia and the Middle East. Other major personal-care companies, such as L’Oréal and Nivea, still offer items claiming to lighten or prevent the darkening of skin. Calls for boycotts of these brands, and the companies who produce them, are simmering online.

Modern brands have tapped into stereotypes about skin tone with deep roots in Asia and Africa, entwined with hierarchies wrought by centuries of colonialism, according to historians. Conversation about this history have become increasingly mainstream.

“Colorism is a persistent social force in India, and many South Asian countries,” the model and “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi wrote on Instagram. “I know it made me feel insecure growing up. We need to dismantle this harmful relic of colonialism through representation for all skin-tones.”

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protests Tighten

Hong Kong Protests: Law to Tighten Beijing’s Grip With Security Presence – The New York Times

Pro-democracy politicians said the new details of the proposed national security law showed that it would punch a hole in the city’s independent judicial system.

Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

China released a sweeping blueprint on Saturday to tighten its control over Hong Kong, revealing plans to establish a security agency in the territory to help Beijing extinguish challenges to its power after months of unrest.

The planned national security law for Hong Kong also gives the territory’s chief official, who must answer to Beijing, the power to appoint which judges will hear such cases, eroding the autonomy of the city’s independent judiciary.

The announcement drew immediate protests from opposition leaders who warned that it would imperil the rule of law in Hong Kong, a global financial center with greater freedoms than in mainland China.

The proposed law is a pillar of President Xi Jinping’s push to subdue political strife in Hong Kong, the sole part of China that has loudly defied his drive to entrench authoritarian control. Opposition from the United States, Britain and other Western countries appears unlikely to derail that effort.

The details released by the official Xinhua News Agency on Saturday suggested that the law would greatly magnify the Chinese government’s ability to extinguish political opposition in Hong Kong, which sustained monthslong street protests there last year that often flared into clashes with the police. The law would also allow Beijing to override the city’s local laws.

“This is a dramatic change in the administration of justice in Hong Kong, and it gives central authorities control over Hong Kong that was never anticipated” when Britain returned the territory to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, said Jerome Cohen, a New York University law professor and Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow.

Defying some expectations in Hong Kong, Chinese lawmakers — meeting as the National People’s Congress Standing Committee — did not vote to approve the law on Saturday. Even so, Chinese news media and law experts have said that the government is eager to bring the law into force quickly.

Hong Kong’s opposition politicians said the law would seriously erode the city’s cherished judicial independence and rights to protest and free speech. Chinese security forces already operate secretively in Hong Kong, but the new law would expand and formalize their presence.

“This will hollow out Hong Kong, as far as I could see. This new law can simply mean anything Beijing wants it to mean,” said Claudia Mo, a pro-democracy lawmaker in the Hong Kong legislature. Beijing “used to be quite insistent about judicial independence in Hong Kong,” she said. “Now they are taking off even that facade.”

Tam Yiu-chung, a Hong Kong member of the Chinese legislature’s top committee, told reporters that the authorities in Beijing would only directly intervene in “exceptional” circumstances, such as if unrest turned into war or otherwise went “completely out of control.”

Image

Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

In the wake of monthslong protests in Hong Kong last year over a proposed extradition bill, Chinese Communist Party leaders in October demanded steps to “safeguard national security” in the territory, which retained its own legal system after its return to Chinese sovereignty.

Last month, the full, annual session of the National People’s Congress, China’s party-controlled legislature, nearly unanimously passed a resolution that authorized the Congress’s Standing Committee to impose the security legislation on Hong Kong.

The Xinhua statement said that basic civil liberties like freedom of speech and freedom of assembly will be protected. Critics have scoffed.

“The terms that are being identified as crimes are vague terms,” Michael C. Davis, a former law professor at the University of Hong Kong who is a research scholar at Columbia University, said in a telephone interview. “There’s a legal morass here that means, essentially, the chances that a court can push back are slim.”

The explanation of the national security law for Hong Kong included other key points:

  • The legislation will order the Hong Kong government to “strengthen oversight and management” of schools and associations in national security matters, suggesting the law could be used to try to stifle campus unrest.

  • The law will require Hong Kong to establish its own national security commission, in parallel to the central government’s security apparatus, and Beijing will assign at least one adviser.

  • China will establish its own national security arm in Hong Kong, separate from the territory’s own security commission, to “collect and analyze” intelligence and handle certain cases.

  • The national security law must always prevail if it comes into conflict with local Hong Kong laws.

The official explanation says that the Chinese national security office stationed in Hong Kong will have jurisdiction in “a tiny number” of cases. But it does not detail what cases. Nor does it say whether crime suspects could face extradition to mainland China.

Tian Feilong, an associate professor of law at Beihang University in Beijing who studies Hong Kong, said that extradition to China would probably be unnecessary, given the options that would be available in the territory.

“The Hong Kong local legal organs will have jurisdiction over more than 99 percent of cases,” Mr. Tian said in a telephone interview. Security agents sent by Beijing would step in, he said, when the local police force is unable to collect the necessary intelligence and handle more difficult cases.

Lau Siu-kai, vice chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, a body that advises Beijing, said that the new law showed respect for Hong Kong’s common-law tradition and the independence of its judiciary.

“Beijing is willing to entrust Hong Kong with the authority and powers to deal with national security,” Mr. Lau said, while adding that, “Of course, Beijing will reserve some powers.”

There is virtually no doubt that the Chinese lawmakers — handpicked by the party — will ultimately approve the legislation. Chinese rules say that draft laws should be discussed at three, perhaps two, lawmakers’ sessions before a vote. This was only the first time the lawmakers had discussed the proposed security law.

Mr. Lau said that the legislation would be completed and put into law no later than the end of July. The Xinhua statement did not specify a schedule.

The official statement released Saturday said the proposed law would define crimes of separatism, subversion, terrorism and “colluding with foreign powers,” but did not provide details. Mr. Tam, the lawmaker from Hong Kong, told reporters that offenders could face up to 10 years in prison.

The provision on collusion — added since the outlines of the law were released in late May — could be used to arrest and convict Hong Kong residents for working with foreign governments and groups, said Mr. Davis, the scholar at Columbia University.

“Collusion with foreigners can then be obviously targeting the locals that are going to Washington and London” to seek support for their causes, Mr. Davis said by telephone.

Legal experts had been calling for weeks for the Chinese government to release a draft text of the law for them to analyze, so that they could offer suggestions on how to reconcile it with Hong Kong’s existing laws. But Beijing officials have been leery of releasing any draft, which would allow pro-democracy opponents of the legislation to assail particular details and demand revisions.

Image

Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Many experts believe China will bring the national security legislation into force before September, when Hong Kong holds elections for its Legislative Council.

Existing rules ensure that the council is dominated by lawmakers loyal to Beijing, but a minority of pro-democracy lawmakers has kept a foothold in it. Politicians in Hong Kong from both pro- and anti-government camps have said that the security law might be used to disqualify some opposition candidates from running in the elections.

On Friday, the United States secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, signaled that the Trump administration would use the September elections to judge whether and by how much to reduce Hong Kong’s special access to American markets. He and other administration officials have said that the planned security legislation shows that China no longer respects Hong Kong’s autonomy.

The Chinese government and officials in Hong Kong have asserted that the national security law enjoys broad support in the city, a position that pro-democracy politicians and protesters have derided.

On Saturday, 30 unions and a student group held what they described as a referendum to gauge their members’ support for a strike in opposition to the law. The unions represented accountants, retail employees, civil servants and bartenders, among other workers.

Organizers set up polling stations across Hong Kong in what was partly an attempt to muster a show of numerical force. The huge street marches last year that demonstrated the breadth of antigovernment sentiment have since dwindled, due in part to the Covid-19 pandemic and increased police pressure.

Alex Tsui, the head of a union of hotel workers, said the vote was meant to challenge the government’s claim that the national security legislation was widely popular.

“It’s not, but how can we prove it? By voting,” he said.

Vivian Wang contributed reporting. Amber Wang contributed research.

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Police protests

Protests against police brutality and racism continue over the weekend across the US – Vox.com

Protests against police brutality and racism triggered by the police killing of George Floyd nearly three weeks ago continued over the weekend in towns and cities across the world — and even took on new momentum in some areas in response to the deaths of two more black men.

The continuation of widespread public demonstrations suggests the energy behind grassroots activists’ demands for racial justice and societal change remains high amid dramatic shifts in public opinion toward a broadly embraced and more pronounced rejection of racism in American life.

In Atlanta, hundreds of protesters marched, blocked a highway and set fire to a Wendy’s restaurant on Saturday after police shot and killed 27-year-old black man Rayshard Brooks by the restaurant’s drive-through the previous night. On Saturday, in response to protests and demands from criminal justice advocates, Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned. The police officer who killed Brooks has been fired, and a second officer involved in the incident has been placed on administrative duty.

Amid smoke from the fire and from what appear to be canisters, protesters stand in small groups. One, alone, walks towards the camera, with a sign reading “Black Lives Do Matter!”

Protesters demand justice for Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta as the Wendy’s where he was killed burns.
Ben Hendren/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

In Palmdale, California, protesters demanded answers from authorities over the death of Robert Fuller, a 24-year-old black man who was discovered dead hanging from a tree in a park on Wednesday morning. The local sheriff’s department has said initial results from a coroner’s investigation indicate suicide, but a full autopsy has not yet been released. Fuller’s friends and family have pushed back against the suggestion the young man’s death was from suicide — as have many activists, like the protester who told LAist, “If you can suggest suicide, I can suggest a lynching.”

In Philadelphia, hundreds of demonstrators marched through the streets for a 15th consecutive day. Many protesters called for defunding the police, and there was a minor stand-off with rifle-carrying counter-protesters around a statue of Christopher Columbus. The counter-protesters claimed they were defending the statue from being pulled down — like those of slaveholders and members of the Confederacy, Columbus statues have been destroyed by protesters across the US. Saturday, the standoff ended peacefully, with no shots fired, and the statue remaining on its pedestal.

A woman holds a Black Lives Matter flag; behind her is a dense crowd of people. In front of her, a woman in a black dress, her face painted like a skull. She raises a jade shaker, and has on a blue headpiece.

Philadelphians marched through the city, making stops at police headquarters and the mayor’s apartment on June 13, 2020.
Cory Clark/NurPhoto/Getty Images

In New Orleans, however, protesters successfully tore down a bust of slave owner John McDonogh, and threw the remains of the monument into the Mississippi River.

In Clemson, South Carolina, members of the Clemson University football team led a march against police brutality and racism the day after university trustees voted to rename its honors college, which had been named after John C. Calhoun, a former vice president and a prominent defender of slavery in the years before the American Civil War.

Several protests swept Chicago, where demonstrators chanted “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace.” In Washington, DC, protesters organized a block party outside DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s home and called for her to defund the police. In Minneapolis, protesters marched toward police headquarters and gathered near the city’s NFL stadium, chanting and making suggestions for how the city council might accomplish its pledge of restructuring the city’s police force.

International protests in solidarity with US demonstrations — and seeking to drive conversations and changes with regard to their own countries’ histories of racism — took place around the world, including in the United Kingdom, France, and New Zealand. In Paris, police intervened to prevent a clash between anti-racist protesters and far-right activists carrying a banner decrying “anti-white racism.”

Hundreds of people are packed together in a street. In masks, they hold up signs with messages like “How Many More?” and “Racism is a pandemic too.”

Protesters in Leeds, England, demonstrate on June 14, 2020.
Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

The protests are reflecting — and propelling — changing attitudes

Pollsters say the protests triggered by the death of George Floyd have had a tremendous impact on public opinion.

Data from Civiqs, an online research firm, showed that support for the Black Lives Matter movement surged in the first two weeks of protests, increasing nearly as much as it had risen over the past two years.

As Vox’s Anna North has reported, experts are most struck by the change in opinions and activist participation among white Americans:

The change is coming “at a speed that I don’t think we’ve seen before in American politics,” said Dorian Warren, president of Community Change, a nonprofit that works with grassroots groups in low-income communities around the county.

And a lot of the shift is coming from white people. Looking at changes in polling data over time, “most black respondents in 2014 and now had pretty progressive views,” Duncan Gans, an analyst at the polling firm PerryUndem, told Vox. “Most of the change was among white respondents.”

For example, in 2016, 77 percent of black Americans said that police were more likely to use force on black people. That jumped to 87 percent this year. But among white Americans, the change was much greater, from just 25 percent in 2016 to 49 percent in 2020.

It’s not just polling. White people are also engaging in protests and other activism in ways they haven’t always in the past, many say. Organizers on the ground are pleasantly surprised by the sustained outpouring of support from people of all races, including people getting in touch for the first time asking how they can help, Warren said. “In some ways we’re seeing the vibrant renewal of civic engagement in our democracy.”

It’s unclear how long the protests will continue or when they may lose their potency in terms of shaping public opinion and inspiring new modes of anti-racist action. But for now there’s no denying that they matter — and that they have already led to some significant changes in opinion, and in proposed policy.


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Chicago protests

Chicago Protests: Lightfoot Announces Small Business Support, Kanye West Joins March – NBC Chicago

Thousands of people gathered in peaceful demonstrations across Chicago Thursday, as protests and marches continued around the world following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

One of those joining the protests was Chicago native Kanye West, who arrived at a march on the city’s South Side in the evening.

Meanwhile, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced new supports for small businesses Friday morning.

Local

Here are the latest developments from across Chicago:

9:30 a.m.: Lightfoot Announces Small Business Supports

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced new supports for small businesses alongside Jewel-Osco and community partners Friday morning.

The news conference, held at the Jewel-Osco at 6014 S. Cottage Grove Ave., can be viewed live in the video player above.

FBI Investigating Violent Arrest at Brickyard Mall

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into a violent arrest at Chicago’s Brickyard Mall that was captured on video, the Cook County State’s Attorney said Thursday.

“The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office has launched an investigation into possible criminal charges related to the incident at Brickyard Mall, ” State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said at a news conference.

A family demands justice after a video shows them being pulled out of their car and pinned down but police at the Brickyard Mall in Chicago’s Belmont-Craigin neighborhood. NBC 5’s Chris Hush reports

“Our office is in communication with the attorney representing the family in the case, and also working with the FBI which has started their own investigation as well,” she continued, adding, “We’ll look at the evidence and the law and see where it takes us.”

7 p.m.: Kanye West Joins March Against CPS Contract With Police

Kanye West, appearing to try and blend in as best he could with the crowd, joined a march organized by Chicago Public Schools students and activist Ja’Mal Green on the city’s South Side.

A spokesman for the rapper told NBC News earlier in the day that he donated $2 million to the families and legal teams of Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. West also set up a college savings fund for Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter Gianna.

On Thursday, artist and Chicago native Kanye West joined Chicago Public School students in the streets in one of the many marches across the city demanding that Chicago keeps police officers out of their schools. NBC 5’s Trina Orlando reports

The demonstration West joined was held in protest against CPS’ contract with the Chicago Police Department, organizers said. The protest began at the CPS office in the Grand Boulevard neighborhood on the South Side, followed by a march to CPD headquarters on Michigan Avenue.

Organizers of the event cite the Minneapolis Public Schools’ cancellation of its contract with local police after Floyd’s death as a reference for their demands, which include the cancellation of the CPD contract and increasing funding for school therapists and art-based extracurricular activities, as well as mandatory education on the American history of race taught by black educators.

6:15 p.m.: 5K Gather to Protest on Chicago’s North Side

A massive protest of around 5,000 people filled the streets on Chicago’s North Side on Thursday.

Chicago Public Schools students, teachers, parents and others marched from Lincoln Park High School to Whitney Young High School to “stand up against the militarized and overfunded Chicago Police Department” and call for the creation of a Civilian Police Accountability Council, among other measures to address racial injustice, organizers said.

6 p.m.: COPA Says More Than 250 Complaints Against Chicago Officers Received Since Friday

Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability said it has received more than 250 complaints against officers since Friday, many involving responses during the city’s protests over the death of George Floyd.

As of Thursday afternoon, at least 258 complaints were reported to the city’s police watchdog agency, Chief Administrator Sydney Roberts said.

The complaints related to excessive force, denial of counsel and improper search and seizure, Roberts said.

“COPA formed a specialized team of investigative personnel and we began reviewing and responding to those complaints in real time beginning Saturday,” she said.

10:45 a.m.: Hundreds March From St. Sabina Church

Rev. Michael Pfleger says approximately 200 people will walk from St. Sabina Church to 79th and Racine in order to “remind America what began all the unrest of the last week across this country and to tell America that she will not be allowed to continue this genocide of black men.”

10 a.m.: Healthcare Providers Hold Demonstration

Hundreds of healthcare providers from around Chicago held a silent demonstration in front of the old County Hospital to draw attention to the impact of structural racism and injustice on themselves and their patients.

Lawmakers Request Emergency Special Session

Three members of the Illinois Legislature are asking for an “emergency legislative session” to address criminal justice reform and the issues at the center of demonstrations and unrest.

Reps. Kam Buckner, Curtis Tarver and Lamont Robinson sent House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Don Harmon a letter Wednesday requesting the session.

“There is a substantial amount of legislation that deals with the rebuilding of our communities and the pursuit of justice and equality that has been filed in the past and that is more important now than ever,” the letter reads.

“Our communities simply can not wait until the November veto session to address these systemic failures and the eroded trust of our neighborhoods when it comes to government, law enforcement and the criminal justice system, as well as economic development. We are in a state of emergency and need to act immediately,” the lawmakers continued.

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Engulf protests

As Protests Engulf the United States, China Revels in the Unrest – The New York Times

Chinese officials and state media are seizing on the moment to tout Beijing’s authoritarian system and condemn American hypocrisy — a narrative that ignores many of their own issues.

Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Javier C. Hernández

The cartoon shows the Statue of Liberty cracking into pieces, a police officer breaking through its copper robe. A man’s head lies on the ground in front of the White House, its facade splattered with blood.

“Beneath human rights,” says the title of the cartoon, which was published by People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship newspaper, and circulated widely on social media sites this week.

As protests over police violence engulf hundreds of cities in the United States, China is reveling in the moment, seizing on the unrest to tout the strength of its authoritarian system and to portray the turmoil as yet another sign of American hypocrisy and decline. It is a narrative that conveniently ignores many of the country’s own problems, including its history of ethnic discrimination, its record on human rights and its efforts to suppress protests in Hong Kong.

Chinese officials are trolling their American counterparts with protest slogans like “Black lives matter” and “I can’t breathe.” The state-run media is featuring stories about the “double standards” of the United States for supporting the Hong Kong demonstrators. Prominent Chinese commentators are arguing that American-style democracy is a sham, pointing to the country’s bungled response to the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing racial tensions.

“This situation in the U.S. will make more Chinese people support the Chinese government in its efforts to denounce and counter America,” Song Guoyou, a scholar at Fudan University in Shanghai, said in an interview. “The moral ground of the United States is indeed greatly weakened.”

The propaganda push is the latest skirmish in a longstanding power struggle between China and the United States, with tensions between the two countries at their lowest point in decades.

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Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

President Trump has accused Beijing of covering up the coronavirus outbreak that began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, saying China should be held responsible for deaths in the United States and around the world. He has also threatened to punish China for moving to adopt a broad new security law in Hong Kong by curtailing the city’s special relationship with the United States.

Now, the protests in the United States are giving Mr. Xi and the Communist Party’s propagandists a natural line of counter attack.

Chinese social media sites are rife with video clips of tense standoffs between the police and protesters in the aftermath of the death last week of George Floyd, after he was pinned to the ground by a white Minneapolis police officer who has since been charged with murder. Television shows feature videos of National Guard troops patrolling city streets, as broadcasters describe the long history of discrimination against minorities in the United States. Social media sites are portraying America as unruly and chaotic: “This is not Syria, this is the U.S.!” read a caption on one popular site.

Global Times, a nationalistic newspaper controlled by the party, called on the American government to “stand with the Minnesota people.” Its editor, in a tweet, pointedly called out Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had said “we stand by the people of Hong Kong” in his condemnation of Beijing’s move to impose national security rules.

“The violent protests in the streets of urban America are further discrediting the U.S. in the eyes of ordinary Chinese,” said Susan Shirk, chair of the U.C. San Diego 21st Century China Center. “The propaganda depicts American politicians as hypocrites living in glass houses while throwing stones at China.”

Ms. Shirk said that as the reputation of the United States suffers in China fewer people might be willing to voice support for American ideals, such as free markets and civil liberties.

“Even without the propaganda, Chinese people nowadays find little to admire in the U.S.,” she said. “As the U.S. model is tarnished, the voice of Chinese liberals is silenced.”

While Chinese officials have gleefully joined the global chorus of criticism aimed at the United States, the unrest has put them in an awkward position.

China’s government has long maintained strict limits on free speech and activism, and the authorities often resort to aggressive tactics to quash unrest. The police in Hong Kong, where the government is backed by Beijing, have been accused of using excessive force as it has sought to rein in antigovernment protests that have convulsed the semiautonomous territory over the past year.

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Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

With the comparisons to Hong Kong unmistakable, many mainland commentators have stopped short of endorsing the tactics used by American protesters, instead denouncing racism in the United States in general terms and rehashing protest slogans.

“The chronic racial wound in the United States is now smarting again,” said a recent report by Xinhua, the state-run news agency.

The Chinese government, in its first official statement on Mr. Trump’s move against Beijing’s national security rules, directly called out the United States for hypocrisy. A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, Zhao Lijian, noted on Monday how American officials have portrayed protesters in their own country as “thugs” but glorified Hong Kong protesters as “heroes.”

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, echoed the party line on Tuesday, accusing the United States of having “double standards.”

“When it comes to their country’s security, they attach great importance,” she said at a regular news briefing. “When it comes to my country’s security, especially regarding Hong Kong’s current situation, they’ve put on tinted glasses.”

Chinese officials, wading into the complex racial politics of the United States, have sometimes struggled with striking the right note.

A spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry, Hua Chunying, was widely praised in China recently when she wrote “I can’t breathe” in response to a critical Twitter post by an American official.

But she had less success with a post on Monday, when she wrote “All lives matter,” apparently unaware she was embracing a slogan that has been used in the United States to criticize the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Chinese officials have used the protests to revive favorite propaganda themes, including the idea that the United States acts as a bully on the world stage, meddling in the affairs of other countries. Hong Kong has been a particular point of contention, with many news outlets in China pairing images of burning buildings and flags in American cities alongside comments last year by Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, praising a demonstration in Hong Kong as a “beautiful sight to behold.”

The editor in chief of Global Times, Hu Xijin, said that the attacks were to be expected given the intense criticism of China by American officials over the past year.

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Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

“It’s a kind of vengeful feeling, which I think is human nature,” he said in an interview. “Americans shouldn’t be unhappy about it.”

Mr. Hu said the unrest in the United States, as well as the failures in the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, had strengthened confidence among many Chinese in Beijing’s political system.

“It has made them believe that the government of this country really cares about people’s lives and well-being,” he said. “They see how the U.S. government and capital despise the lives and interests of vulnerable and marginalized groups.”

Nationalism has been in full force in recent days on the Chinese internet, with many people taking to Weibo, a popular microblogging platform, to denounce the “arrogance” of the United States and Mr. Trump. Hashtags about the American protests, including the decision to deploy the National Guard in some cities, are among the most popular topics on the site.

Some worry that the propaganda campaign may further inflame tensions between the two countries. He Weifang, an outspoken law professor in Beijing, said that even some critics of the government are becoming more sympathetic to the official line.

“Any Chinese with a brain,” he said, “would not simply look at it as China being so successful and the U.S. being a failure.”

But, he added, “with the terrible compression of space for free speech, many people’s heads are gradually broken.”

Elaine Yu contributed reporting from Hong Kong. Albee Zhang and Claire Fu contributed research.

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Atlanta protests

Atlanta protests damage College Football Hall of Fame – 11Alive.com WXIA

Many businesses in downtown Atlanta were targeted.

ATLANTA —

The College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta was damaged after protesting turned violent Friday.  

The building is on Marietta Street near Centennial Olympic Park where protests for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery began earlier in the evening.  

11Alive’s journalists on the ground saw the building’s front lobby had been broken into and raided. There were broken glass and display cases inside and outside of the building. The hall of fame is just one building damaged Friday. 

Since the damage, a spokesperson for the College Football Hall of Fame has released a statement that reads:

“First and foremost, our hearts go out to the friends and family of George Floyd. We support the peaceful protests that honor his memory but unfortunately, they deteriorated into chaos and disorder. We are heartbroken to see the damage to our city and the Hall of Fame. As our Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said… We are better than this, better than this as a city, and better than this as a country. In the coming days and weeks, we’ll work to pick up the pieces, to build back the sacred walls that housed memories and honored those who played the game many of whom fought these same injustices throughout their storied careers.”

The Atlanta Police Department said they’re working to disperse the crowd and restore order. The McCormick and Schmitz restaurant and the CNN Center both sustained damageAtlanta Police said people are both destroying and threatening officers. Video from the protests also show vehicle fires. 

“Officers continue to endure nearly constant assault, including protestors shooting BB guns at them, throwing bricks, bottles, rocks and knives at them as they continue their efforts to protect property and lives. At the moment, at least three officers have been injured in the confrontation,” Public Information Officer Carlos Campos said. 

He also said there have been several arrests. 

Protesters seek justice for death of George Floyd in Atlanta – May 29, 2020

Throughout the protest that moved from the park to the state capitol and back, most of the demonstrators were restrained. However, at around 5:00 p.m., some gathered around the CNN Center that is located next to the park and began engaging with officers. Video from SkyTracker11 showed bottles and other items being thrown at officers. The large CNN logo outside the building was climbed on and spray painted. Then, those same cameras saw spray paint on the building. Windows on the building were also broken. 

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