Sunday, 10 July 2016

Protests and violence in America

Thousands protest against police shootings


10 July, 2016

Protests against the shootings of two black men by police officers shut down main arteries in a number of US cities on Saturday (local time), leading to numerous arrests, but remained mostly peaceful, except for scuffles with riot police in Baton Rouge.

Undeterred by heightened concerns about safety at protests after Micah Johnson killed five police officers in Dallas on Thursday night, organisers went ahead with marches in the biggest metropolis, New York City, and Washington D.C, the nation's capital, among other cities.
A woman holds a banner during a protest in support of the Black lives matter movement in New York.
A woman holds a banner during a protest in support of the Black lives matter movement in New York.Photo: AFP

It was the third straight day of widespread protests after the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling, 37, by police in Baton Rouge on Tuesday and the death of Philando Castile, 32, on Wednesday night in a St. Paul, Minnesota suburb.
The most recent shooting deaths by police come after several years of contentious killings by law enforcement officers, including that of Michael Brown, a teenager whose death in the summer of 2014 caused riots and weeks of protests in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson.

Early on Saturday evening, hundreds of protesters shut down I-94, a major thoroughfare linking the Twin Cities, snarling traffic for about two hours.
Despite warnings to disperse, St Paul police said protesters threw objects, injuring one officer. The police then began making arrests and used smoke bombs to scatter the crowd.

A march in Baton Rouge saw scuffles between riot police and Black Panther activists, several of whom carried shotguns, as Louisiana law allows for weapons to be carried openly. A police spokesman said several arrests were made and two weapons recovered during the confrontation.


After a short standoff later in the evening, riot police made multiple arrests.
Protests also took place Saturday in Nashville, where protesters briefly blocked a road, and in Indianapolis.

A rally in San Francisco also briefly blocked a freeway ramp, according to local media.

Hundreds of protesters marched from City Hall to Union Square in New York. The crowd swelled to around a thousand people, closing down Fifth Avenue.
Some in the crowd chanted "No racist police, no justice, no peace" as rain fell in New York.

"I'm feeling very haunted, very sad," said Lorena Ambrosio, 27, a Peruvian American and freelance artist, "and just angry that black bodies just keep piling and piling up."

New York police said separately they arrested about a dozen protesters for shutting down a major city highway.

Dallas police respond to threat


Dallas police have given the all clear, hours after security levels were raised at their headquarters in the city following an anonymous threat.
Dallas police stand watch near the scene where four Dallas police officers were shot and killed on July 7, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.
Dallas police stand watch near the scene where four Dallas police officers were shot and killed on July 7, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. Photo: AFP

They said they had received an anonymous threat.

A nearby parking lot was searched for a "suspicious person" but no-one was found. SWAT officers were earlier deployed at the main building.

Dallas police said its officers - using dogs - searched the parking lot but the hunt turned up nothing.

In a statement earlier on Saturday, police said: "The Dallas Police Department received an anonymous threat against law enforcement across the city and has taken precautionary measures to heighten security."
Johnson, who was himself killed after the attacks in Dallas, supported black militant groups who encouraged violence against police.

Dallas police chief David Brown said Johnson had told a negotiator that he had wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers, because he was angry about the recent shootings of black men by police.

Police later found bomb-making materials, rifles, ammunition and a combat journal at Johnson's home.

Police Chief David Brown speaks at a press conference after the shootings of 11 police officers in Dallas, Texas.
Police Chief David Brown speaks at a press conference after the shootings in Dallas, Texas. Photo:AFP

President stresses unity


US President Barack Obama says the US is "not as divided as some have suggested" in the wake of fatal shootings involving African-Americans.

Mr Obama said "it was just not true" the US was returning "to the situation in the 60s".

His comments, on the side of a Nato summit in Warsaw, echoed those made earlier by vice-president Joe Biden, who said Americans had a duty to stand up against injustice, but that people also needed to support police.

Mr Obama said Americans of "all races, all backgrounds", including many of those who were protesting, were outraged by the Dallas killings.
The unity shown in the wake of the attack was a strong foundation on which to build, he said.

"When you start suggesting that, somehow, there is this enormous polarisation and we are back to the situation in the 60s, it's just not true," he said.

"You are not seeing riots and you are not seeing police going after people who are protesting peacefully.
US President Barack Obama was at Nato talks in Warsaw.
US President Barack Obama was at Nato talks in Warsaw when police were attacked in Dallas. Photo:AFP

"We have seen almost uniformly peaceful protests and we have seen, uniformly, police handling those protests with professionalism.

"And so, as tough, as hard, as depressing as the loss of life this week, we have got a foundation to build on. We just have to have confidence that we can build on those better angels of our nature."

- BBC / Reuters




Police Purge’: FBI Warns of Plots to Hunt Down and Kill All

The American people look on in horror as the nation’s long undealt with history of police violence against minority communities threatens to evolve into calls for domestic terrorism against cops.



9 July, 2016
In the wake of the worst attack on police in America since September 11 in Dallas that left five officers dead and at least seven other officers wounded when a lone gunmen took aim at the cops in retaliation for the shooting deaths of unarmed black men — Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota — a group that can be described as nothing short of domestic terrorists are calling for a "police purge" in Baton Rouge and various cities across the country.
What was initially dismissed as a hoax leaves the nation’s top cops in a state of panic issuing warnings to police in Baton Rouge and throughout the country to be on high alert and asked the public to keep a watchful, vigilant eye on developments  in order to keep the nation’s law enforcement community safe.
The purge, whether real or fictitious, is planned to be carried out on July 9 and the early hours of July 10 with the originator of the threat, Facebook user Timothy James Turner, saying that the only “rule” is that they "kill every police." 
The idea is borrowed from the cult-film titled "The Purge" where, surprisingly enough, police go completely off duty for 24 hours allowing every sort of crime to be committed with impunity. Many social media users suggested that if protesters don’t disavow and counter the push to engage in violent struggle against the police, a real life purge could result when officers decide to go on strike.
Apart from these terrorist-style threats with images of a police officer being decapitated by an individual dressed like Daesh’s "Jihadi John" but with American flag suspenders, police have come under fire in Georgia, Missouri, and Tennessee.
In Ballwin, Missouri, Antonio Taylor ambushed a police officer from behind during a traffic stop shotting the cop three times in the neck. The officer remains in critical but stable condition.
Near Atlanta, 21-year-old suspect Alonzo Majia Nunez faces prosecution for shooting at cops from a passing vehicle just a few hours after the Dallas massacre, but the officer was unwounded. 
Also in Georgia, a police officer was lured to the home of suspect Stephen Paul Beck who had called 9-1-1 only to have an opportunity to take aim at a cop. However, Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman Scott Dutton warns that the incident may be unrelated to the recent shootings.
Finally, a black army veteran began indiscriminately shooting at passing cars with white motorists and police officers telling investigators that he was troubled by the growing police violence against the African-American community and had decided to take matters into his own hands – one woman was killed while several others were injured.
The Violence is Indiscriminate, but the Concern is Legitimate

As politicians like former Congressman Joe Walsh declare war on Obama over the spate of police shootings and with threats of violence against cops soaring it would be easy to forget that the protests against police brutality are firmly rooted in the reality of an America fractured by racial divisions and disproportionate, if not openly discriminatory, treatment of minorities. 
The world looked on in horror as they saw two unarmed black men shot down by police at point-blank range with next to no apparent reason based on the available video evidence. The killing of Alton Sterling happened on Tuesday as he was held down by cops and shot directly in the chest several times and then on Wednesday the country watched on the last breaths of a man, Philando Castile, on a livestream video recorded by his girlfriend while the couple’s four year old daughter sat in the back seat.
Other incidents have cropped up around the country since then including the mysterious hanging of a man in Atlanta yesterday, in the Peachtree area of the city, sparking a mass protest onto the city’s freeway shutting down all business in the metropolitan area for the day.
This morning there are reports that another man, Alva Braziel, was reportedly shot ten times by two police officers including three shots to the head after refusing to lower a weapon he was waving around according to initial reports. This latter incident has exploded on social media although, based on early findings, it does not appear to be an abuse of force.
America now finds itself at a perilous juncture where another attack on police or against a unarmed black person could result in a calamitous race war already being drummed up by Fox News who has blasted non-violent Black Lives Matter protesters as being part of what they have called a "war on cops."
The country also finds itself at a moment where tragedy may not be left in vein, but rather become the stimulus to a proactive set of proposals to ensure the equal treatment and safety of black communities and ensuring the safety of police officers everywhere.
Even Donald Trump knows which of those two realities we should embrace putting out a shockingly coherent and galvanizing message that acknowledges wrongs against the black community calling the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling "senseless" while asking the American people to unite.
When the reality television star turned Republican standard-bearer is the better angel in the discussion, the instability of the moment becomes all too obvious, but hope remains that the country will not descend into a new, more egregious round of violence.

A protester raises him arms in front of a police blockade as marchers take to the streets to demonstrate against the recent fatal shootings of black men by police, Friday, July 8, 2016, in Phoenix.








The Bahamas Just Issued A Travel Warning To The United States


CREDIT: AP PHOTO/ANDRES KUDACKI
Police officers stand guard as they watch protesters in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Friday, July 8, 2016.

ThinlProgress,
9 July, 2016

The Bahamas issued a travel warning to the United States on Friday, cautioning its citizens about police violence in the country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration has taken a note of the recent tensions in some American cities over shootings of young black males by police officers,” the statement read. “We wish to advise all Bahamians traveling to the US but especially to the affected cities to exercise appropriate caution generally. In particular young males are asked to exercise extreme caution in affected cities in their interactions with the police. Do not be confrontational and cooperate.”

The statement follows the tragic deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of police earlier this week, as well as five officers in Dallas in a sniper attack on Thursday.

The statement also warned citizens Bahamian citizens to “not get involved in political or other demonstrations under any circumstances and [to] avoid crowds.”

Protests and demonstrations against police brutality took place across the United States after the deaths of Castile and Sterling. The shooting in Dallas, Texas on Thursday occurred during one such demonstration. The gunman, who officers said acted alone out of a desire “to kill white officers,” shot and killed five Dallas police officers. Seven other officers and two civilians were also injuredduring the demonstration.

On Friday, police used pepper spray and fired bean bags at a demonstration in Phoenix, Arizona, after the demonstrators tried to block the freeway. According to The Arizona Republic, police officials said three protesters were arrested for throwing rocks at officers and at least six people were injured.



The travel warning was posted on Facebook by the Bahamian Ministry of Environment and Housing and the Bahamas’s Consulate General in New York.

The Bahamas’ travel warning can be read in full below:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Issues Travel Advisory for Bahamians traveling to United States of America
For Immediate Release
8 July 2016
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration has taken a note of the recent tensions in some American cities over shootings of young black males by police officers.
At the commencement of the Independence holiday weekend, many Bahamians will no doubt use the opportunity to travel, in particular to destinations in the United States.
We wish to advise all Bahamians traveling to the US but especially to the affected cities to exercise appropriate caution generally. In particular young males are asked to exercise extreme caution in affected cities in their interactions with the police. Do not be confrontational and cooperate.
If there is any issue please allow consular offices for The Bahamas to deal with the issues. Do not get involved in political or other demonstrations under any circumstances and avoid crowds.
The Bahamas has consular offices in New York, Washington, Miami and Atlanta and honorary consuls in Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago and Houston.
Their addresses are on the Ministry’s website – mofa.gov.bs
Pay attention to the public notices and news announcements in the city that you are visiting.
Be safe, enjoy the holiday weekend and be sensible.

"WE WANT AN END TO THE POLICE STATE!" Alicia Garza "Black Lives Matter" Founder



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