07:39 GMT23 September 2020
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    Black Lives Matter Protests Sweep Across Globe Following Death of George Floyd (132)

    Mass rallies continue across the United States after the funeral of George Floyd. Protesters toppled a statue of Christopher Columbus in Minnesota, beheaded another one in Boston, and vandalised his statue in Richmond, with many other monuments also damaged or dismantled across the country.

    Demonstrations in the US are raging on, with protestors in Seattle occupying the abandoned Seattle Police Department's East Precinct, establishing the so-called "Free Capitol Hill Zone", or "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone".

    The protests and riots erupted after African American George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody following his violent arrest. Officer Derek Chauvin, who held his knee on Floyd's neck for over 8 minutes has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, while three other officers have been charged with aiding and abetting.

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    • 03:53

      Minneapolis Police Officers Condemn in Open Letter Derek Chauvin for Killing George Floyd

      A group of Minneapolis police officers have published an open letter to condemn former colleague Derek Chauvin, who is accused of killing African American man George Floyd.

      "We wholeheartedly condemn Derek Chauvin. We Are With You in the denouncement of Derek Chauvin’s actions on Memorial Day, 2020. Like us, Derek Chauvin took an oath to hold the sanctity of life most precious. Derek Chauvin failed as a human and stripped George Floyd of his dignity and life. This is not who we are," the open letter said on Thursday, as quoted by the Star Tribune newspaper.

    • 00:23

      US Defence Secretary has ordered an after action review of the National Guard's response to unrest

    • 00:22

      'Leaving Precinct Was Not My Decision', Seattle Police Chief Says

      A police officer stands as he removes a wire barricade at the entrance of Seattle Police Department East Precinct in Seattle, Washington, U.S. June 11, 2020.

      'Leaving Precinct Was Not My Decision', Seattle Police Chief Says

      Protesters "took over" the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct after it was abandoned by police on Monday night in what was described as an act of "trust and de-escalation" by local authorities.
      Read more
    • 22:31

      Seattle mayor says Trump's 'threat to invade' the city in bid to clear protesters is 'unwelcome' and 'illegal'

    • 21:35

      Trump Says US Must Boost Strength of Police Forces

      The United States should bolster police because it needs stronger law enforcement forces, President Donald Trump said during a roundtable discussion in the state of Texas.

      “We are going to have stronger police forces because that is what we need,” Trump said on Thursday.

      The city of Minneapolis, he added, saw "three nights of hell" during recent protests over the death of African American George Floyd. The president said he sent the National Guard in and "it was a miracle, just everything stopped."

    • 18:31

      Trump Reiterates Vow to 'Take Back' Seattle From Protesters, Warns 'This is Not a Game'

    • 18:27

      Senate Panel Backs Changing Names of Confederate Bases

      Dawn breaks over the US Capitol building in Washington DC

      Senate Panel Backs Changing Names of Confederate Bases

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Senate Armed Services Committee has approved a requirement that the Pentagon change the racist and Confederate names of US military installations, a summary of the new National Defence Appropriations Act (NDAA) proposed legislation said on Thursday.
      Read more
    • 18:18

      US Police Reform Must Include Community Cooperation, Independent Oversight, Ex-Chief Says

      "I envision joint community-police policymaking, procedural development, operational decision-making, and completely independent oversight - from reception of complaints to the investigation and adjudication of individual cases", Stamper said. "My vision is of the mayor, city council members, and chiefs - commissioners and superintendents – all working to build a ‘people’s police'".

      Stamper, who was in law enforcement for 34 years and served as chief of the Seattle Police Department for six years, also said the community should participate in co-planning and co-policing of all political protests and the disciplinary process. Members in the community should also be at the table with a vote during hiring decisions, academy teaching and in-service training.

      "This is the understanding that a 'we’re all in this together' mentality is essential to building a mutually respectful, mutually trusting relationship", Stamper explained. “It’s hard work, to be sure, especially when confronting the barrier of the entrenched political clout of police unions”.

      In response to Floyd's death, there has been a flurry of debates nationally by lawmakers and policymakers at all levels about defunding police departments.  Trump, however, has made it clear that he will not consider any of these types of demands.

      "People are talking about defunding or dismantling in ways that seem to equal no more funds... There’s a tendency for people to have their own picture of what defunding means. The powers-that-be, civic leaders and grassroots organizers all have a role to play", Stamper said.

      Stamper, who resigned in 2000 after officers used tear gas against protesters, said one major factor is that from the beginning organized policing in America was on the wrong foot.

      "Police allied with slave patrols, against poor people, aligned with the elite, siding with the Bull Connors of the world. They are not interested in institutions or civil rights. We’re still on course, unfortunately. I wish I could say it was different," he said.

      Stamper said when he saw Floyd's murder he was "sickened and appalled, but not surprised".

      "I wish I could say I found this shocking. I was particularly troubled to look at his expression. It was casual, an ‘I’ve got this.’ For 8.46 seconds he had his knee and body weight on another human being. It was a cavalier act of murder", Stamp said.

      Stamper indicated that the development reveals that the problems are structural.

      "It is a tainted, toxic institution characterized by racism and bigotry with people who believe they can act with impunity. We need an institution with people who are compassionate, competent and professional", he said.

      Stamper stressed that although there is pervasive racism there are also many good law enforcement officers who are usually unable to speak out for fear of retribution. But if and when proposed reforms take hold, these officers will be in a position to contribute as they have been to much-needed change.

      Stamper warned, however, that the Trump administration cannot solve the problem and is unlikely to be the source of any positive changes.

      "Attorney General William Barr is so aligned with his boss, he can’t see straight. It’s time to discount these people. They are cheerleading for police brutality and violence. They are sad. Sick. Pathological. We’re dealing with personal crazy. Change can’t and will not come from them. They need to be pushed to the sidelines", he said.

      Stamper has feared the police were too powerful and officials too cowardly and that the US would only see modest gains in reforms.

      However, he has been impressed at the size, the scope and intensity of the protests.

      "The state of the uprising and grassroot protests caused people to pay attention", Stamper said. "I think we’re poised for real change".

    • 17:55

      Senator Angus King Believes US Police Used ‘Excessive Force’ Against Protesters at Lafayette Square

      "During these demonstrations, the U.S. Park Police, among other Federal law enforcement officers, appeared to use excessive force, chemical agents, and projectiles to indiscriminately remove protesters from President's Park, a park whose founding purpose is described as providing ‘a large open area associated with the White House for freedom of public expression and assembly activities'", Senator Angus King wrote. 

      "According to multiple witnesses, U.S. Park Police officers also attacked credentialed journalists with shields and riot gear, further infringing upon the American liberties that are supposed to define our nation and democratic government", he added. 

    • 16:18

      House Republican Leader McCarthy Says GOP Will Roll Out Own Police Reform Plan

    • 15:43

      US Senate Committee Passes Amendment to Ban Trump From Using Military to Quell Riots

      The amendment proposed by Senator Tim Kaine was approved in a voice vote during the committee’s closed-door markup of the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) on Wednesday, the senator’s office said Thursday.

      “My other priority was something I would never have thought I needed to do until last week: prevent the use of military force against peaceful protesters", Kaine said in a statement Thursday. "I was pleased my colleagues voted to include my amendment in the defence bill. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue".

    • 15:39

      'Those That Deny Their History Are Doomed to Repeat It!' Trump Says

    • 14:27

      Anti-Racist Group Draws Up Hitlist of Statues They Want to Tear Down

      Protesters pulling down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol during a Black Lives Matter protest on 7 June 2020.

      Where Does It All End? Anti-Racist Group Draws Up Hitlist of Statues They Want to Tear Down

      Black Lives Matter activists tore down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston at the weekend and threw it into Bristol’s harbour. It comes in the wake of a global questioning of “racist” statues following the death of George Floyd at the hand of white police officers last month.
      Read more
    • 12:29

      UK City of Bristol Retrieves Toppled Statue of Slave Trader Edward Colston From Harbour

      The authorities of the southwestern English city of Bristol, located in the United Kingdom, have lifted the statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston from the bottom of Bristol Harbour, where it was thrown by Black Lives Matter protesters, the city council said on Thursday.

      According to the statement, the statue will now be taken to "a secure location" and then become part of the city's museum collection, as ordered by Mayor Marvin Rees earlier this week.

      Edward Colston was one of Bristol's biggest benefactors, who helped build schools, churches and homes for the poor. However, his fortune was accumulated by the slave trade, causing his statue to be targeted by the protesters, who demand that the UK gets rid of symbols representing its colonial and racist legacy.

      According to Rees, the city will invite residents to partake in consultations over what will stand in the toppled statue's place.

    • 11:25

      NASCAR Bans Confederate Flags From Its Races Over Floyd Protests

    • 09:50

      Netflix Creates Black Lives Matter Section After Pulling Host of 'Racist' Shows From the Service

    • 08:05

      Democratic Senator Blocks GOP Resolution That Slammed 'Defund Police' Calls

      The US Congress building. (File)

      Democratic Senator Blocks GOP Resolution That Slammed 'Defund Police' Calls

      On Monday, President Donald Trump declared that he wants “law and order” as POTUS condemned calls for the government to defund the police amid the ongoing George Floyd protests.
      Read more
    • 07:11

      Wisconsin Gym Blasted for Offering 'I Can’t Breathe' Workout Amid Sweeping BLM Protests

      Demonstrator Kathy Woodward holds up a sign as she protests police actions, Thursday, June 4, 2020, in Seattle, following protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. Seattle's police chief says officers' badge numbers will be prominently displayed following complaints that black bands obscured the digits. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

      Wisconsin Gym Blasted for Offering 'I Can’t Breathe' Workout Amid Sweeping BLM Protests

      The gym's management promptly issued an apology for a tone deaf offer, but their clients and the general public appear to deem it meaningless unless the people behind the workout description are sacked in disgrace.
      Read more
    • 06:58

      From Laser Pointing to Precinct Fire: DOJ Reportedly Files Scores of Charges Against Protesters

      A protester gestures as buildings burn during continued demonstrations against the death in Minneapolis police custody of African-American man George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., May 30, 2020

      From Laser Pointing to Precinct Fire: DOJ Reportedly Files Scores of Charges Against Protesters

      Earlier this month, President Donald Trump urged police to get "tough" on rioters amid the ongoing protests across the US following the 25 May death of black American man George Floyd at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer.
      Read more
    • 06:08

      Appeal to Remove 'Racist' Statues Gathers Momentum in Norway

      Winston Churchill holds up two fingers to make a V-sign for Victory as he salutes from an open car in Antwerp, Belgium, on Nov. 17, 1945

      Appeal to Remove 'Racist' Statues Gathers Momentum in Norway

      Following the death of African American George Floyd at the hands of US police, a war against monuments seen as controversial has gripped the both sides of the Atlantic, claiming legendary wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill as their biggest scalp so far.
      Read more
    • 05:56

      Australian PM Morrison Warns Protesters Could Be Fined or Arrested for Breaking Pandemic Restrictions

      "We actually don't know right now whether those rallies on the weekend may have caused outbreaks", Prime Minister Scott Morrison told 2GB Radio on Thursday. He also criticised protesters who were urging to remove statues of white leaders, saying they were driven by political agendas.

    • 05:47

      Trump Slams 'Domestic Terrorists' Creating 'Autonomous Zone' in Seattle

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump has lashed out at the leadership in Washington state for refusing to disperse protesters from the streets of Seattle, the state's capital, claiming that "domestic terrorists" have taken over the city.

      According to The Seattle Times, Black Lives Matter protesters have occupied Seattle's City Hall and are camping outside the state capitol building. Meanwhile, law enforcement officers have been ordered to not use tear gas and other violent tactics to disperse the crowds.

      "Domestic Terrorists have taken over Seattle, run by Radical Left Democrats, of course", Trump said in a tweet late on Wednesday.

      The US President also tweeted that the state’s Democratic Governor Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan were being “taunted” by the protesters and threatened to take action.

      "Radical Left Governor @JayInslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped IMMEDIATELY", Trump tweeted.

      Inslee responded with a critical tweet making light of the president’s spelling mistake.

    • 04:58

      US Protesters Topple Columbus Statue in Minnesota

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US protesters put ropes around the neck of the Christopher Columbus statue in St. Paul, Minnesota, and pulled it down, the Star Tribune reported.

      They said their action was a step toward healing for the Native American population.

      Earlier, protesters in Richmond, Virginia, toppled the Columbus statue and threw it into a lake.

    Live Updates: Seattle Mayor Says Trump's 'Threat to Invade' in Bid to Clear Protesters Is 'Illegal'
    Black Lives Matter Protests Sweep Across Globe Following Death of George Floyd (132)
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