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Thousands need aid after fire destroys Europe’s largest refugee camp – The Guardian

Thousands of people urgently require emergency shelter and aid after a fire destroyed Europe’s largest refugee camp, on the Greek island of Lesbos.

As the Athens government declared a state of emergency and a delegation of officials rushed to the north-eastern Aegean island, the sheer scale of devastation wrought by the overnight blaze became increasingly evident.

In the mangled wreckage of gutted facilities, incinerated tents and blackened containers, Moria was no more. The camp whose overcrowded and unsanitary conditions had spawned global outrage since its inception in 2015 had been erased.


Thousands left without shelter as fire rips through Lesbos refugee camp – video

“At this moment the reception centre has been completely destroyed,” Greece’s alternate migration minister, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, told reporters, saying it was miraculous there had been no deaths or injuries. “As a result, thousands of people are homeless.”

Calling the situation an “unprecedented humanitarian crisis”, the politician said the coronavirus pandemic had created “exceptionally demanding” circumstances on the island, long at the forefront of refugees fleeing war-stricken homelands for the west. Eyewitnesses reported terrified and traumatised residents fleeing the hilltop facility through thick, acrid smoke laced with the stench of burning plastic.

At least three dozen people living in the camp had been diagnosed with Covid-19 before the fire erupted. Local islanders’ fears that the virus could spread were exacerbated when authorities admitted that by late afternoon on Wednesday they had only managed to locate eight of them.

Echoing other government officials who had alluded to arson, Koumoutsakos said it appeared the blaze broke out “as the result of the discontent” among camp residents over lockdown measures being prolonged following a positive virus test for a Somali asylum seeker.

Firefighters who rushed to the scene as flames whipped by gale force winds enveloped the camp spoke of the fire bursting into life in at least three places, suggesting it had been deliberately lit.

“It broke out on multiple fronts,” the north Aegean fire brigade chief, Konstantinos Theofilopoulos, told the state-run TV channel ERT. As teams battled to extinguish the flames they had “met resistance” from stone-throwing refugees, he said.

In a national address, the prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, told Greeks the four-month-long state of emergency would mean “national funds and all national forces assisting” in relief efforts on the island. “I recognise the difficult circumstances,” he said, expressing sorrow over the fire. “However, nothing can become an excuse for violent reaction to health checks. And, more so, for unrest of this extent.”

With EU help initiatives would be taken to turn “an ugly experience … into a better reality,” the leader insisted. As a frontier state Greece had borne an overly “heavy weight” in dealing with the “European problem” of handling migrant waves, he said.

In the dawn light as firefighters struggled to douse the flames, authorities threw a six-mile cordon around the camp to prevent its former residents from attempting to reach Mytilene, the island’s port town and home to most of its 85,000 population. Riot police units were flown in for reinforcement from Athens as Mitsotakis convened an emergency meeting of top ministers in his centre-right government.

“It’s an atomic bomb,” said Michalis Frantzeskos, the island’s deputy mayor in charge of citizens’ protection, referring to infection rates possibly increasing in the wake of the devastating blaze. “People have headed to the mountains, they’re [scattered] everywhere.”

For most of the day thousands of men, women and children clutching their frugal belongings and under a police guard lined the main road connecting Mytilene with the camp.

The facility, which had been under Covid-19 lockdown since March, was more than four times over capacity when the inferno erupted, with close to 13,000 people living there.

By nightfall it was announced that around a thousand of the most vulnerable refugees with disabilities and health problems would be hosted in a ferry boat as emergency workers sought frantically to gather enough tents. Two naval ships will also be dispatched to the island by Thursday with around 3,500 tents providing temporary shelter, the Greek migration minister Notis Mitarachi told a press conference.

“Moria as we have known it cannot continue,” he said, pledging that Athens would press ahead with the creation of “closed” detention camps in which the movement of people will be monitored more closely.

The prospect of the facilities has been deplored by human rights groups.

The EU’s commissioner for home affairs said Brussels would fund the transfer to the Greek mainland of some 400 unaccompanied minors also hosted in Moria.

Long on the frontline of the refugee crisis, Lesbos has been a magnet for men, women and children moving westward from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and ever more increasingly western Africa.

Although numbers have dropped dramatically since their peak five years ago, rickety boats crammed with people still arrive from Turkey, circumventing increased patrols put in place when the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, vowed to “open the gates” to Europe for hundreds of thousands of refugees.

More than 30 aid organisations, who have repeatedly described Moria as a stain on the consciousness of Europe, joined forces on Wednesday calling on the continent’s leaders “to share the responsibility for the reception and support of asylum seekers now more than ever”.

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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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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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Hundreds Thousands

Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops usually cast ballots by mail. This year could be more complicated, Pentagon office says. – The Washington Post

As the partisan fight over mail-in voting intensifies ahead of the November presidential election, hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops and their families are preparing, as they have for decades, to cast absentee ballots by mail.

Defense Department officials say the delivery of ballots cast by troops at military installations across the United States and far-flung locations around the globe should not be significantly affected by recent U.S. Postal Service changes and an expected crush of mail-in voting because of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Peter Graeve, chief of plans and policy for the Military Postal Service Agency (MPSA), ballots completed by service members, their family members and military contractors overseas between Sept. 1 and Dec. 8 will receive a USPS express mail label for expedited handling.

The average transit time to voting centers in the United States — whether ballots are sent from giant citylike bases in Germany or tiny outposts in the Syrian desert — should be six days, Graeve said.

But a Pentagon office dedicated to facilitating voting for troops and other Americans overseas has cautioned that remote voting could be more complicated this year.

“Communication with the voter is more important now than ever,” the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) said in a recent covid-19 update on its website, urging election officials to communicate potential options to voters to ensure that ballots arrive in time. “Due to international airport interruptions, many military and overseas voters will face greater-than-normal challenges with returning mail back to the United States in a timely fashion,” it said.

Lisa Lawrence, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said mail, including ballots, had “continued to move to overseas military personnel regardless of international postal disruptions.”

But, she added, “slight delays have occurred and the Military Postal Service Agency continues to monitor conditions globally with specific attention given to balloting materials.”

The military’s ability to ensure that service members can successfully vote is under heightened scrutiny as the U.S. Postal Service warns that some of the ballots Americans cast by mail may not arrive in time to be counted.

Military personnel, including those who are located within the United States but outside their state of residence, have been taking part in U.S. elections on an absentee basis since as early as the War of 1812 and, in greater numbers, the Civil War, according to the National Postal Museum.

In the 2016 election, service members and their families sent more than 633,000 ballots to their home jurisdictions. About 20,000 of those were rejected, half because they weren’t received in time. The number of absentee ballots sent to service members and their families increased by nearly a quarter between the 2012 and 2016 elections.

The successful delivery of those ballots to voting centers relies on a vast logistical operation overseen largely by the MPSA, which is run by the Army but provides service for all troops and their families overseas.

According to an overview provided by MPSA, mail processed at the service’s network of overseas post offices is taken by commercial or military aircraft to military mail terminals, then flown by commercial or military aircraft to airports or bases in the United States.

A defense official said service members stationed in Afghanistan, for example, would take their ballot to the base post office, where they would not be charged for express mail handling. The ballot, along with other mail, would then be taken to Bagram air base, the main air hub for foreign forces in the country, where it would be loaded on the next commercially contracted flight. After a likely layover in Bahrain, the mail would arrive in New York, where it would be handed over to the Postal Service, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

The Postal Service picks up military mail flown to U.S. bases, but commercial air carriers transport the military mail they handle to Postal Service processing facilities. In both cases, the mail — including service members’ ballots — is then moved onward as part of the Postal Service’s mail chain.

Service members voting in some states and jurisdictions can sidestep that process and submit their absentee ballot by fax or email, if permitted by their state or jurisdiction.

Before any of that can happen, they must ensure they are registered to vote and request an absentee ballot, which can be done by different means according to their state or territory.

Lawrence said service members are briefed on voting before being deployed overseas.

“This affords an opportunity for personnel to complete a Federal Post Card Application prior to deployment,” she said, or submit a write-in ballot depending on the length of their deployment.

Officials said service members have the option of filling out a write-in “backup” ballot if their requested ballot does not arrive in time, which can be submitted according to rules of their voting jurisdiction.

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Bamako Thousands

Mali coup: Thousands take to Bamako streets to celebrate – BBC News

A man looks on during a protest to support the Malian army in Bamako, Mali, on August 21, 2src2src

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Thousands took to the streets to celebrate the coup

Thousands have taken to the streets of Mali’s capital to celebrate the coup against Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.

Coup leaders arrested Mr Keïta on Tuesday and forced him to resign, sparking global condemnation.

But Mr Keïta was facing huge street protests before his arrest and many in Mali have welcomed his removal.

Thousands gathered in Bamako’s Independence Square to the sound of vuvuzelas, with many declaring victory over the former president.

“I am overjoyed, we won. We came here to thank all the people of Mali because it is the victory of the people,” Mariam Cissé, an opposition supporter, told the AFP news agency.

“IBK has failed,” said retired soldier Ousmane Diallo, using a common reference to the ousted president by his initials. “The people are victorious.”

However, he cautioned, “the military should not be thinking now that they can stay in power”.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Many have called the coup a “victory”

West African leaders have called for Mr Keïta to be reinstated and the UN says all those detained should be freed.

But coup leaders say they are talking to opposition parties about appointing a transitional president, who could be civilian or military.

Mali has several jihadi groups in its northern deserts and there are fears they could take advantage of the coup.

They did so following the previous military takeover in 2012.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionFive factors that made the coup against the former Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta more likely

The coup leaders have promised to respect international agreements on fighting jihadists. Thousands of French, African and UN troops are based in the country to tackle the militants.

In another development, an opposition leader kidnapped by militants in March ahead of disputed elections has written letters to his family, says the International Committee of the Red Cross. This is the first contact they have had since Soumaïla Cissé was seized in a case that shocked the country, reports the AFP news agency.

Mr Keïta won a second term in elections in 2018, but since June has faced huge street protests over corruption, mismanagement of the economy and disputed legislative elections.

There has also been anger among troops about pay and the conflict with jihadists, which has seen scores of soldiers killed in the past year.

Where is Mr Keïta now?

The United Nations mission in Mali says its human rights team has visited him, and other officials detained by the leaders of this week’s coup.

It says they are still being held at the Kati military camp outside the capital Bamako, where the coup began, but gave no further details.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta won a second term in 2018

The military says two detainees have been released – the finance minister and the former president’s private secretary – but that 17 prisoners are still being held.

Who are the coup leaders?

Col Assimi Goita, 37, has presented himself as leader of the new military junta, which is calling itself the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP).

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Col Assimi Goita has received military training from the US, France and Germany

Col Goita was the head of Mali’s special forces and led the operations against the 2015 jihadist attack on the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako.

He has reportedly received military training from France, Germany and the US, and took part in the UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Other members of the junta include Col Malick Diaw, CNSP vice-president, and Col Wagué, the air force deputy chief of staff.

What does the opposition say?

One of the parties in the M5 opposition coalition, CMAS, said it would support the coup leader in “developing a roadmap” towards new elections and called for the rallies on Friday “to celebrate the Malian people’s victory”.

Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Many Malians have welcomed the military takeover

After meeting the coup leaders, the head of Mali’s opposition M5 movement, conservative Imam Mahmoud Dicko, announced he would be withdrawing from politics. No reasons were given.

Mr Dicko was one of the key figures in the huge street protests calling for Mr Keïta to resign.

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Thousands of bikers heading to South Dakota rally to be blocked at tribal land checkpoints – The Guardian

Thousands of bikers heading to South Dakotas 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will not be allowed through Cheyenne River Sioux checkpoints, a spokesman for the Native American group said on Saturday.

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Tens of Thousands March in Russia’s Far East, Defying Kremlin – The Wall Street Journal

MOSCOW—Tens of thousands of people in Russia’s Far East marched in protests triggered by the arrest of a popular regional governor, but that have since morphed into a wave of growing dissatisfaction over social issues and the rule of President Vladimir Putin.

Saturday’s demonstrations marked the eighth consecutive day of public actions since the July 9 arrest of Sergei Furgal, the governor of Khabarovsk, for his alleged involvement in the murders of two businessmen and the attempted murder of another 15 years ago.

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confirms Thousands

AT&T confirms thousands of job cuts, 250 store closings – Axios

AT&T confirmed to Axios it is planning widespread job cuts that include managers and executives, in addition to 3,400 technician and clerical jobs. It will also close 250 retail stores, impacting 1,300 retail jobs.

Why it matters: While the cuts can’t be separated from the COVID-19 impact on the economy, the moves also come as the mobile industry has consolidated from four national players to three following T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint.

Details: The stores facing closure are a mix of AT&T-branded locations and those of Cricket Wireless, AT&T’s prepaid brand, according to the Communication Workers of America, which represents some of AT&T’s employees.

  • AT&T confirmed the cuts, but did not give a specific total number, other than to say the job reductions were “sizable.”
  • AT&T said the store closures were planned, but accelerated by the pandemic. Most store employees will be offered another job with AT&T, the company said.
  • Laid-off workers will receive severance pay and six months of company-provided healthcare, AT&T said.

What they’re saying:

  • AT&T: In a statement to Axios, AT&T said the cuts stem from lower demand for some legacy products, as well as the impact of the pandemic.As a result, there will be targeted, but sizable reductions in our workforce across executives, managers and union-represented employees, consistent with our previously announced transformation initiative. Additionally, we’ll be eliminating more non-payroll workers — the vast majority of which are outside the United States — than we are managers or union-represented employees.”
  • CWA: “If we are in a war to keep our economy going during this crisis, why is AT&T dismissing the troops?” Communications Workers of America president Chris Shelton said in a statement. The union also noted that the cuts come after hedge fund Elliott Management took a $3.2 billion stake in AT&T last year.

Meanwhile: In a statement, T-Mobile confirmed it is cutting some jobs too, though it didn’t say how many. But it notes it is hiring for 5,000 new positions over the next year as well. The company committed to growing its net employment as it sought regulatory approval to buy Sprint.

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Washington sees tens of thousands at George Floyd protest – Los Angeles Times

At times, it seemed almost all of the nation’s capital came out to protest racism and police brutality on Saturday.

Tens of thousands of people converged on the newly — and officially — named Black Lives Matter Plaza smack dab in front of the White House, which now resembles a fortress surrounded by high fences and concrete barriers, to decry the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Black power activists came, along with women from the YWCA. Army vets and union recruiters. Heavily tattooed people and women in hijabs. Children and gray-haired grandmothers. Federal workers, priests, doctors in scrubs, people with Bibles who seemed familiar enough with the book to know how to hold it.

Unlike earlier this week, there was minimal police presence and no reports of violence or vandalism. The mood was serious and passionate but also peaceful and friendly.

And the mayor was there.

“You know we have to speak up loudly for more justice and more peace!” Mayor Muriel Bowser called out to the crowd.

Few American cities have embraced the demonstrations over the police killing of Floyd, and of the heavy-handed federal response, as enthusiastically as the District of Columbia. And that has led to a battle between Bowser and the occupant of the besieged White House, President Trump.

At Bowser’s order, district public works crews on Friday painted “Black Lives Matter” in huge neon-yellow letters, stretching from curb to curb and down two full city blocks on 16th Street, which leads directly to the White House. Trump snapped back on Twitter, calling her “incompetent.”

City officials expected Saturday’s demonstrations, which also took place in nearby Maryland and Virginia suburbs, to be the largest so far. Rallies resumed for the ninth consecutive day across the country.

“The silent majority cannot be silent anymore,” said Eileen Suffian, a 64-year-old accountant who attended the Washington rally with her rescue dog Moxie. “Where there is justice somewhere, there is justice everywhere.”

As part of the age group considered more vulnerable to the coronavirus, Suffian said she spent weeks trying to avoid crowds. But after federal officials used riot police and National Guard troops, chemical gas and low-flying military helicopters to scatter peaceful protesters near the White House on Monday, she said she had to act.

“The government mobilizing the Army against its own citizens — I never thought i’d live to see that,” she said.

Noel Rubio, 24, the son of immigrants from the Philippines, said the causes of civil rights and LGBTQ equality have benefited from black activism, and it was time to return the support.

“We are standing up for our black brothers and sisters to say, Enough is enough,” said Rubio, who works in Washington as a consultant.

Unlike most of the carefully choreographed marches and rallies that often occur in Washington, the anti-racism protest Saturday appeared a grass-roots effort with no single organizer or group in charge. It was broadly dispersed, with parades of people hoisting signs, wearing masks and chanting cries for justice as they crisscrossed the city in sweltering heat.

With much of the downtown closed to traffic, crowds stretched about a mile up 16th Street from the White House, and for about two miles from Capitol Hill to the White House. Demonstrators also crowded the grassy National Mall, massing in front of the Lincoln Memorial and other monuments.

Some protesters stopped to take a knee. Others held up their hands and chanted, “Don’t shoot!” Almost to a person, they carried signs, as well as masks, proclaiming, “I can’t breathe” or “Black futures matter.”

In some spots music blared from speakers; elsewhere, there were competitions of megaphones broadcasting speeches.

Along the many routes, in the intense heat and humidity, churches and individual groups offered free bottles of water, lunches and squirts of hand sanitizer to the demonstrators.

Several protesters credited Bowser for having stepped in after the Monday crackdown, when protesters were violently cleared so that Trump could make his way to St. John’s Episcopal Church for a photo op. Since then, several protesters said, the atmosphere has shifted from a military-occupied city to something closer to a street festival.

Police also offered a welcoming tone.

“We are going to continue to change our policing methods to make them the most acceptable to the community we serve,” Police Chief Peter Newsham said as he welcomed Saturday’s demonstrations.

In another dig at Trump, Bowser asked governors who sent National Guard troops to withdraw them, saying they were unnecessary and “encroached on the rights” of city residents. On Friday, after Bowser complained, the Pentagon said it was withdrawing the 1,600 active-duty troops it had sent to bases near the city.

Andrew Duggins, who completed four deployments in Afghanistan before retiring from the Army as a captain last year, said he was stunned to realize that the military has more rules about use of force than the police in Minneapolis, where Floyd died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

“We had escalation-of-force procedures, and if we didn’t follow them, we’d get hammered,” he said.

One question that swirled through the crowds Saturday was simple. What comes next? Will the wave of anguish and activism translate into votes in November?

“I sense an energy, a pressure for real substantive change,” said Father Patrick Keyser, an Episcopal priest who welcomed demonstrators outside St. John’s. “Not to say it will be easy.”

There were numerous “Dump Trump” signs, and organizers promoting voter registration. But there was also widespread cynicism that voting seems not to have improved the plight of many black Americans.

“We can’t risk not voting,” said Quinn Smith, a black 26-year-old who works in information technology. “The rights of all of us are at stake.” He hoisted a sign that said “Black lives matter” and “VOTE!”

Casting his eyes at the diverse masses around him, Smith added, “This is America, the perfect representation of what America should look like.”

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Protesters Thousands

Thousands of protesters gather in DC for largest George Floyd demonstration yet – Fox News

Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered Saturday across Washington D.C., including near the White House, to march against police brutality and racism in response to the recent death of George Floyd in police custody — part of protests that took place in cities across the U.S.

Black Lives Matter organizers were hoping to draw a million protesters, with groups of demonstrators gathering at the Capitol, the National Mall, and with thousands gathering near the White House. A law enforcement source told Fox News that an estimated 200,000 people came to protest in D.C. throughout the course of the day.

One crowd of about 2,000 people gathered at Malcolm X Park at one point and, after giving speeches and singing, began marching down 16th Street toward the White House, according to Fox News’ Kelly Phares. Protesters gathered in front of newly-installed high fencing that was keeping protestors out of Lafayette Park in front of the White House.

Authorities have expanded the fenced security perimeter around the White House, which now reaches to the outskirts of a park complex known as the Ellipse, near the National Mall. It comes amid concerns that the mostly peaceful protests seen in recent days could be marred by the rioting and looting seen at the beginning of the week and last weekend.

“We have a lot of public, open-source information to suggest that the event on this upcoming Saturday may be one of the largest that we’ve had in the city,” D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham told reporters Thursday.

President Trump tweeted that there was a “much smaller crowd in D.C. than anticipated.”

“National Guard, Secret Service, and D.C. Police have been doing a fantastic job. Thank you!” he tweeted.

Protesters also demonstrated in San Francisco and New York City, as well as Philadelphia and Chicago. As of Saturday evening there were few signs of the violence that had marred previous protests in recent days.

It was not clear how many would show up for Saturday’s demonstrations, but #1MillionDCSaturday was trending on Twitter in a call for 1 million people to march on the capital.

Crowds applauded for D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser as she walked along the portion of 16th Street that she renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza. Bowser has feuded with President Trump over the city’s handling of the protests, that devolved into riots earlier in the week.

Trump accused her of not doing enough to shut down the violence, while Bowser has pushed back on Trump’s calls for the use of federal law enforcement to quell disturbances.

Uniformed military personnel walk in front of the White House ahead of a protest against racial inequality in the aftermath of the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Washington, U.S. June 6, 2src2src. 

Uniformed military personnel walk in front of the White House ahead of a protest against racial inequality in the aftermath of the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Washington, U.S. June 6, 2020. 
(Reuters)

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Friday that local officials were estimating a crowd of 100,000 to 200,000 protesters.

DC READIES FOR SATURDAY PROTESTS AS POLICE CHIEF SAYS IT MAY BE ‘LARGEST WE’VE HAD IN THE CITY’

Newsham wouldn’t commit to a number but predicted it would be smaller than the Women’s March in 2017, which drew roughly a million people.

Police announced Friday that large swaths of roads would be closed to make room for demonstrators Saturday.

U.S. Park Police told McClatchy DC it was using “intelligence to monitor upcoming events” but would not divulge details that could “pose a hazard to the public and police.”

More than 4,500 National Guard troops are still deployed in Washington and various federal law enforcement officers are also patrolling the city,

But Bowser wants all non-D.C.troops out of the city. All 900 active-duty military police brought to bases around Washington following the civil unrest after Floyd’s death are heading home, the Department of Defense said Friday.

Bowser said she only requested 100 D.C. National Guard troops to line the perimeter of the White House, in a limited role and unarmed.

Protesters have lined the streets surrounding the White House every day this week.  On Monday, riot police cleared peaceful protesters out of Lafayette Square, using pepper balls and smoke canisters, so that President Trump could walk to a neighboring church for a photo op.

Uniformed military personnel walks into the secured White House area ahead of a protest against racial inequality in reaction to the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Washington, U.S., June 6, 2src2src. 

Uniformed military personnel walks into the secured White House area ahead of a protest against racial inequality in reaction to the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Washington, U.S., June 6, 2020. 
(Reuters)

Since then protests have been largely peaceful with few arrests, and the city has not enforced a curfew since Wednesday night.

Across the nation, the number of National Guard troops mobilized across the country has doubled in the past four days. The National Guard tweet Saturday that 43,000 troops were deployed across 34 states and D.C. to assist law enforcement with civil unrest, while 37,000 Guard soldiers and airmen continue to assist with Covid-19 response.

Dozens of protests are planned across all boroughs in New York City, after Friday the Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. announced that his office would not prosecute protesters charged with breaking curfew or other low-level offenses. Protesters charged with low-level offenses “undermines critical bonds between law enforcement and the communities we serve,” the district attorney said.

New York City has an 8 p.m. curfew in place until Sunday night, after looters ransacked businesses, mostly at the beginning of the week. There have been a number of clashes between officers and aggressive protesters, but as the week has progressed, protests have grown more peaceful.  Police say they’ve arrested in the city about 2,500 people since the end of May.

On Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio explained why he didn’t lift the curfew.

“Anyone who would say ‘Is it more harm than good?’ I would say no. We’ve had three really good nights after two really bad nights,” the mayor said.

New York Police Department officers stand in formation after arresting multiple protesters marching after curfew on Fifth Avenue, Thursday, June 4, 2src2src, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

New York Police Department officers stand in formation after arresting multiple protesters marching after curfew on Fifth Avenue, Thursday, June 4, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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In Chicago, officials prepared for another busy weekend of demonstrations, and hundreds had already begun to gather in Union Park on Saturday morning. The city shut down a number of main streets and modified transit routes for Saturday to make room for protesters. Chicago’s 9 p.m. curfew remains in place over the weekend.

At the same time, thousands of mourners showed up Saturday to remember Floyd ahead of a second memorial service, this time in North Carolina near where he was born.

The mourners lined up Saturday morning for a two-hour public viewing of his casket at Cape Fear Conference B in Raeford, about 24 miles from Fayetteville. A private service for family members only begins at 3 p.m. local time but is being broadcast.

Fox News’ Kelly Phares, Raymond Bogan and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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