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Spanish village makes its own rainbow after council's gay pride flag banned

BARCELONA (Reuters) – When police ordered a local mayor in southern Spain to take down a rainbow flag put up to celebrate gay pride on Friday because it was illegal, more than 300 households in the village rallied to the cause and flew their own flags.

By the time gay pride celebrations took place in Spain on Sunday, the Andalusian village of Villanueva de Algaidas near Malaga was awash with flags hanging from balconies, windows and even a bar in solidarity.

Juan Civico, Socialist mayor of the village of 4,000 inhabitants, only found out it was illegal for authorities to fly the flag after three residents complained about the one he had put up.

Civico said the local government was bound by a recent ruling by the Spanish Supreme Court that only official flags, of Spain, its regions or the European Union, can be flown from council buildings.

“After the complaints, we studied what we had to do. We saw that under the law we had to remove the flag. But the people can put what they like on their balconies,” said Civico.

Hearing about the police action, Antonio Carlos Alcántara who runs a shop in the seaside resort of Torremolinos, 62 km away, had an idea.

He sells rainbow flags in his shop in the resort, which is popular with the LGBT community, but because of the coronavirus they were not selling and he had plenty in stock.

After he put out a message on the council’s Facebook page asking if anyone in Villanueva de Algaidas wanted to fly a rainbow flag, he received more than 100 requests for the flags, prompting him to drive over and hand out another 300.

“The village is full(of flags). It is incredible,” Alcántara said.

Piedad Queralta hung two flags from her house in the village.

“I think people should be free to love who they want to as long as it does not cause anybody any harm,” she said.

In 2005, Spain became the third country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands and Belgium.

A 2013 report for the U.S.-based Pew Research Center found 88% of Spaniards accepted homosexuality, making it one of the most accepting countries of the 39 polled.

Antonio Ferre, of the Federation of Andalusian LGTB+ Diversity, said the villagers’ initiative in Villanueva de Algaidas was “especially moving”.

Manolo Garcia, another resident, was just happy to support the cause.

“To me it is not good nor bad. Every person should be able to do what they like in their own home and in the public street if it does not offend others,” he said.

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30 Days Of Art With NAC: The Children by Yu-Mei Balasingamchow

After eight months, her children were coming home. They were rotating between services – her son from military to healthcare, her daughter from healthcare to construction – and their medical reports were clear, so they could spend one weekend with immediate family before their next posting.

She had to be tested too, to confirm that she didn’t have the virus. There were still inexplicable community outbreaks, and no vaccine or reliable treatment. She was relieved to get a negative result. It meant she could hold her twins again, not just talk to a screen or send haptic emoji, which simulated affection but felt like sandfly bites on her skin.

Her children arrived on Friday, whipping off masks and gloves to hug her. They were muskier, leaner, louder. On video calls they had let her mother them: Are you eating enough? Is there enough protective gear? (So many rumours, also about shortages of rice and filtration tablets.) Now, she realised, they were adults with their own views of the world.

At dinner her son said, “Remember M_____, the one we called teacher’s pet? So our ships surrounded the small motorboats, they were trying to enter our waters, our commander told us to stop them. M_____ started arguing with him!” He scoffed. “You know all those people have the virus, that’s why they want to sneak in. And M_____ wanted to let them! We’re doing National Service for Singaporeans, not for them!”

“How did you stop them?” she asked.

He shovelled food into his mouth. Both children were eating furiously. They did so at every meal that weekend, driven by something more than hunger or comfort.

On Saturday she said, “Take your time, no rush.”

Her daughter said, “The virus doesn’t wait, it strikes once it has the chance. If we slow down, it’ll spread even faster. Remember that,” she said to her brother. “There’s a new wave of cases at your hospital. It’s going to be full-on, lots of tough choices. No mercy.”

Her daughter sounded like the government officials she had seen in the news. Where did they learn to talk like that, she wondered, what choices had her daughter made?

After eating, the twins roamed the flat, helping with housework, asking about her job (she remote-operated a machine at a factory making medical-grade test tubes) and her friends (she saw them once a month, when it was safe in the virus’s replication cycle to meet in person).

Later they went into a room and closed the door. She thought she heard angry crying. It was a new sound. At their father’s death and after, they had wept but gently.

She remembered cradling them, one in each arm, after they were born. When they got heavier and she had to use both arms for one baby, her husband was still alive to carry the other.

The virus seemed far away then. It wouldn’t take him until the twins were four years old, and she thought, if I get through this, I’ll teach my children everything they need to know.

It was not enough, she could see now. What they had to do, day after day, in the name of the nation’s survival. And if they caught the virus or were injured or died in a service mishap…

The terror kept her up that night, as it had before. She heard crying again. Her eyes were painful but dry.

On Sunday morning when the children stumbled out of their rooms, she had cooked all the food in the refrigerator, enough for a week.

Her daughter said, “Are you feeling okay?”

Her son took her temperature. It was normal.

They ate quietly and industriously for the rest of the day. She wondered what the food was turning into inside their bodies. Strength, wisdom, protection – if only it were that easy.

At sunset, her daughter said, “Sorry we can’t stay.”

“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.”

“I want to eat,” her son said.

“I want to sleep in my own bed.”

“At least I don’t have to carry a rifle anymore.”

“You’ll learn to read medical charts,” her daughter said. “A gun is more direct.”

Her son looked as ill as she had felt all day.

At the door, they were about to put on masks and gloves when she circled them with her arms, one twin on each side. They were taller than her husband had been. She ached for the absence of them.

Then they were gone, down the stairs, sprinting for the bus. When she looked down over the parapet, dark figures were running in the same direction. She couldn’t tell which ones were her children.

• Yu-Mei Balasingamchow, 46, is the co-author of history book Singapore: A Biography (2009). Her short fiction has won the Mississippi Review Fiction Prize. She is living under lockdown in Boston and teaching fiction writing online, which has gone much better than she expected.

• To read the other works in this series online, go to str.sg/30Days. To listen to them in a podcast, go to str.sg/JW2f

• For more local digital arts offerings, visit a-list.sg to appreciate #SGCultureAnywhere

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Meghan Markle’s blog site closure sparked explosive rift – ‘Deep paradox frustrated her’

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In the book, Royals at War, investigative journalists Dylan Howard and Andy Tillett said Meghan had a dream of “becoming an iconic mega-influencer”. Meghan started a blogsite known as The Tig in 2013 which the book claimed was her “mouthpiece” and “soapbox”. Sources in the book claim the Duchess of Sussex set up the blog after being driven by “admiration” for her friends Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams.

The blog attracted thousands of followers with the former Suits star sharing her views on topics including gender issues, politics and lifestyle.

But once Harry and Meghan had became closer, the book claims the prince “nervously” approached Meghan saying he had been “advised by palace officials” that due to her “outspoken views”, she had to cease her social media activity.

Meghan soon closed her blog and her Instagram account.

However, the book claims the “move fired up her ambitions” to further her acting career instead.

The authors wrote: “She was excited about the prospect of transitioning to the silver screen, and possibly even winning an Oscar.”

The authors say a source close to Meghan told them she had always “harboured the secret ambition of winning an Academy Award”.

But eventually, Meghan realised her dreams of being an iconic role model were “dashed” due to her role in the royal family, it is claimed.

As Howard and Tillett said, “ultimately, as a Royal, Meghan wouldn’t be able to do much about any of the problems” in society.

READ MORE: Kate Middleton v Meghan Markle: Most popular lockdown looks revealed

They added in the book: “In the gilded Royal cage, she quickly realised that her impact was limited, something that seemed to drive her crazy.

“This paradox at the heart of Meghan’s new existence was generating a huge amount of frustration for her.”

The authors claim the pressure of life in the Royal family was “the catalyst” that led to Meghan and Harry turning their back on the Royal household and starting a new life in LA.

Howard and Tillett added: “It was this burning frustration that set the couple on the path they eventually took.

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“Other problems influenced their decisions further, but this was the start.

“It was the fuse that eventually created the explosion.”

In a statement in January, the Sussexes played down claims of a royal rift and said: “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution.

“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.”

In recent trademark applications, submitted in the US and across the world, over their new organisation Archewell, it mentions the plans will involve charitable services.

These could involve giving classes, lectures, seminars, conferences and workshops as well as promoting public awareness for a variety of causes.

The plans also include developing volunteer programmes and community projects.

The trademarks also list a website featuring content related to philanthropy, and charitable fundraising including scholarships for programmes, and organising special events.

This hints Meghan Markel may be able to once again express her views on areas of interest.

A statement issued on the couple’s behalf in April said of Archewell: “Before SussexRoyal came the idea of ‘Arche’ – the Greek word meaning ‘source of action’.

“We connected to this concept for the charitable organisation we hoped to build one day, and it became the inspiration for our son’s name.

“To do something of meaning, to do something that matters.”

Alongside this, the Duchess of Sussex has also begun a return to acting by narrating a documentary for Disney, called Elephant.

The Royal Family declined to comment on the revelations in the book when approached for comment by Express.co.uk.

Royals at War is available online and nationwide from July 15.

www.royalsatwar.com

 

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Colorado Civil War statue toppled, set on fire in Denver

DENVER — Police in Denver have arrested one person for suspected arson after a small group of protesters attempted to set fire to the pedestal of a Civil War statue that was toppled last week.

About 75 protesters had been demonstrating peacefully around the Capitol late Saturday night when a small group broke off and went to the statue site, a Colorado State Patrol spokesperson told KUSA_TV.

Just before 11 p.m. a fire was set atop the mostly-concrete pedestal using wood and other materials. the spokesperson said. The Denver Fire Department extinguished the blaze within about 20 minutes and the damage was minimal.

— ♥️👩🏽‍🎓♥️👩🏽‍⚕️♥️👩🏽‍🏫♥️👩🏽‍💻♥️ (@pinklaurenade) June 28, 2020

A 22-year-old suspect was being held on suspicion of second degree arson, according to the Denver Police Department.

The statue, erected in 1909, had been pulled down Thursday. It recognized a Union cavalry regiment that fought Confederate forces but also acknowledged soldiers’ role in an 1864 massacre of Native Americans.

Its toppling came as protesters across the nation have defaced and torn down statues of historic figures during recent demonstrations against racial injustice. Most of those pieces have explicit ties to colonialism, slavery and the Confederacy, including imagery of Christopher Columbus and former U.S. presidents who owned slaves.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has said the Denver statute will be repaired.

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Business

Big tobacco, big oil and Buffett join Fed's portfolio

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve bought $428 million in bonds of individual companies through mid-June, making investments in household names like Walmart and AT&T as well as in major oil firms, tobacco giant Philip Morris International Inc, and a utility subsidiary of billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway holding company.

The transactions disclosed Sunday are the first individual company bond purchases made by the Fed under new programs set up to nurse the economy through the coronavirus pandemic. The Fed also added $5.3 billion in 16 corporate bond exchange traded funds, including a newly added sixth high yield fund.

The initial round of purchases included some 86 issuers, about half of them contractually settled as of June 18 and some still underway, all bought on the secondary market.

That is a small slice of the more than 790 issuers whose bonds the Fed has said in a separate release were eligible for purchase.

But it was still a first foray into corporate bond purchases that spread broadly across the economy, touching firms like Gilead Sciences that are involved in developing treatments for the COVID-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus, as well as major automakers. That included Ford Motor Co., whose credit was downgraded to junk status after the Fed announced its intent to buy corporate debt.

Both the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank have programs to buy individual corporate bonds, but the Fed only added that to its arsenal in light of the Depression level risks posed by the pandemic. The aim is to ensure companies can continue to finance themselves, and not be forced out of business due to problems raising cash during a pandemic. The program is backed by investment capital from the U.S. Treasury to absorb any losses should corporations default.

The largest purchases were of bonds issued by AT&T and the United Health Group, with the Fed buying around $16.4 million of bonds from each.

Issuers in the energy industry accounted for about 8.45% of the bonds purchased, about a percentage point less than their representation in a broad market index that the Fed says its purchases are intended to track over time.

The Fed’s bond purchases and other emergency programs will be scrutinized by lawmakers at a Tuesday hearing before the House Financial Services committee with Fed chair Jerome Powell. Questions may focus on the individual bonds purchased, but also on the fact that support for the bond markets used by major firms is now up and running and getting billions of Fed support, while the Fed’s Main Street Lending Program for smaller companies has yet to make a loan.

The central bank’s programs overall have so far seen modest use. The central bank’s overall balance sheet has declined for the past two weeks, falling to $7.08 trillion more recently as foreign governments made less use of Fed dollar swap lines.

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Missing Mexican politician's body found following abduction

Anel Bueno, a local legislator from western Colima state, was abducted on April 29 by an armed group.

The body of a legislator from Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s party was found in an unmarked grave more than a month after she was kidnapped.  

Anel Bueno, a local legislator from western Colima state, was abducted on April 29 by an armed group while taking part in a sanitisation project against the coronavirus.

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  • ‘All weapons we sell are from the US’: Smuggling guns into Mexico

  • ‘A day without women’: Strike in Mexico to condemn femicides

  • 3 journalists killed in Mexico in less than a week

During a morning news conference in Campeche, along Mexico’s Gulf coast, the president said one suspect was in custody.

The Colima state prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Wednesday Bueno’s body was found in a grave with those of three men. The bodies were found on Monday, but her remains were not identified until Tuesday.

Colima Governor Jose Ignacio Peralta said those responsible would be found, and the state security chief had resigned.

The announcement came a day after Peralta confirmed seven bodies found inside a vehicle in the port of Manzanillo were missing state police officers from neighbouring Jalisco state.

“We still don’t know the causes, just that there is someone in custody and there is already a statement about who was responsible,” Lopez Obrador said.

Local press quoted Bueno‘s mother as saying the family waited more than two weeks to speak publicly on the recommendation of the attorney general’s office.

Colima has faced a high level of violence because of organised crime in recent years, giving it the highest murder rate in Mexico.

Politicians have been targeted before. In 2017 Ixtlahuacan’s mayor, Crispin Gutierrez, was killed. Last July, the mayor of the port of Manzanillo was attacked with gunfire but escaped unharmed.

Despite the lockdown imposed in Mexico over two and a half months ago to help curb the coronavirus pandemic, killings around the country have continued at an alarming pace.

With 3,000 murders, March was the most violent month since Lopez Obrador came to power in December 2018.

April – the first entire month in which the lockdown was in place – fared little better with 2,950 murders.

Witness

Mexico: The other side of the wall

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Libyan government forces seize Haftar stronghold Tarhuna

The city was the main launchpad for an offensive against the capital that Haftar’s forces finally abandoned this week.

Forces loyal to Libya’s internationally recognised government said on Friday they entered Tarhuna, the last major stronghold of renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar in the west, capping the sudden collapse of his 14-month offensive on the capital.

Haftar’s self-style Libyan National Army (LNA) was pushed from its last positions in Tripoli a day earlier, the latest of in a series of battlefield defeats.

More:

  • ‘Largest drone war in the world’: How airpower saved Tripoli

  • Will setback to Khalifa Haftar change the course of Libya’s war?

  • Egypt, UAE welcome resumption of Libya ceasefire talks

Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed – reporting from Tarhuna, 75km (47 miles) east of Tripoli – said the city’s loss was a major blow to the LNA as Tarhuna was the main launchpad for the offensive against the capital.

“From here, Haftar’s forces had a central command for the past year, and from here Russian military experts – with UAE and Egyptian military experts – have been running the battles,” he said as militiamen fired assault weapons in celebration.

Government forces now may target the Haftar-controlled city of Bani Walid to the south, said Abdelwahed.

Turkey’s backing has helped the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) win a string of victories in recent weeks, ending the assault on Tripoli that led to battles in its southern suburbs and the bombardment of the city centre.

The GNA operations room said its forces had reached the centre of Tarhuna after entering from four sides.

“Our heroic forces entered the city of Tarhuna from four axes and reached the city centre … and they gave the Haftar terrorist militia a lesson they will not forget,” said Mohammed Gnounou, a GNA military spokesman, in a statement.

Mostafa al-Majai, another GNA military spokesman, said government forces entered Tarhuna without a fight after the LNA pulled out of the city into the desert.

“No reprisal acts have taken place inside the city. A large number of residents left it days ago. This has made it easy to establish security there,” he said.

No reprisal acts’ 

Libya’s conflict is far from over, however, with the LNA still controlling the country’s east, where there is a parallel administration, and large parts of the south, where the main oilfields are located.

The LNA is backed by Russia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt. The United Nations has warned a recent flood of weapons and fighters to both sides in Libya risks a major new escalation.

GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj vowed his government would take control over all of Libya.

“Our fight continues and we are determined to defeat the enemy, impose state control on the whole of the homeland and destroy all those who jeopardise the construction of a civil, democratic and modern state,” al-Sarraj said after talks with Turkish officials in Ankara.

‘Humanitarian gesture’

Sami Hamdi, The International Interest’s editor-in-chief, told Al Jazeera the Tarhuna’s fall may have been “a negotiated exchange between the Russians and the Turks”.

“In terms of its significance, it means the complete end of Haftar’s Tripoli offensive. The military solution that Haftar offered … is no longer on the table, and we are back to the status quo as it was before the beginning of the Tripoli offensive, east and west,” Hamdi said. 

Meanwhile, Haftar’s forces confirmed their “redeployment” away from the capital following the UN-recognised government’s announcement on Thursday it was back in full control of the Greater Tripoli areas.

Haftar’s spokesman, Ahmad al-Mesmari, said the redeployment was a “humanitarian gesture intended to spare the Libyan people further bloodshed”.

Hundreds of people have been killed and 200,000 more driven from their homes since Haftar launched his assault, pledging to “cleanse” the capital of the “terrorist militias” he said dominated the GNA.

Al-Mesmari said the redeployment was also intended to bolster the work of a UN-backed military commission tasked with shoring up a nationwide ceasefire.

“We announce that we are redeploying our forces outside Tripoli on condition that the other side respect the ceasefire,” he said in a statement released late on Thursday.

“If they do not respect it, we will resume military operations and suspend our participation in the negotiations of the military committee.”

Claudia Gazzini, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, said it was uncertain what Haftar’s next move will be but that it was unlikely for his foreign supporters to back a new offensive on Tripoli if the GNA stops at Tarhuna. 

“We’ve registered over the past months increasing dissatisfaction from Haftar’s foreign backers about the conduct of the war and his own personal conduct. Egyptian and Emirati officials have been voicing this in private,” Gazzini told Al Jazeera. 

“What they’re trying to do is avoid a counteroffensive if possible… But that also depends on what the GNA does, meaning if they stop their military offensive at Tarhuna and do not venture further east, then we could see a freezing of the conflict and ceasefire talks.”

“But if GNA forces and politicians call for a continued offensive toward Sirte, Jufra or even further east toward the oil terminals then at that point I think that Haftar’s foreign backers might recalculate again and go for a new counteroffensive.”

The UN’s Libya mission said on Tuesday that after a three-month suspension, the warring parties had agreed to resume ceasefire talks.

A military commission made up of five GNA loyalists and five Haftar delegates held talks in February, but the dialogue was suspended.

UN experts in April said hundreds of mercenaries from Russian paramilitary organisation the Wagner Group were fighting for Haftar.


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What’s happening with the war in Libya? | Start Here

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UK's top senior civil servant Mark Sedwill steps down as PM Johnson adviser seeks change

LONDON (REUTERS) – Britain’s most senior civil servant stepped down on Sunday (June 28) after reports of clashes with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top political adviser, part of what is expected to be a wider shake up of officials at the heart of power.

Johnson’s senior political adviser, Dominic Cummings, has long been critical of the civil service, saying government is not nimble enough to deliver change. Some newspapers reported he warned aides last week that a “hard rain is going to fall”.

Earlier this year, Johnson forced the resignation of his finance minister, tightening his control over the treasury, and just earlier this month he announced the merger of its diplomatic and aid departments.

Mark Sedwill, a career diplomat, was appointed cabinet secretary and national security adviser by Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May.

In a letter to Johnson released on Sunday, he wrote that, having stayed on for “the acute phase” of the coronavirus crisis, he was now leaving as “the government’s focus is now shifting to domestic and global recovery and renewal”.

He said he would leave government service at the end of September.

Johnson’s office released a letter in which he thanked Sedwill for his “outstanding service”, and asked him to lead a new G7 panel on global economic security as Britain assumes the presidency of the rich nations’ group and hosts its summit next year.

David Frost, Britain’s chief negotiator with the European Union, will replace Sedwill as national security adviser at around the end of August and there will be a competition to appoint a new cabinet secretary and head of the civil service.

Britain’s main opposition Labour Party raised questions over the timing of the move. Helen Hayes, policy chief shadowing the cabinet office, said: “On the day it was revealed millions of jobs across the country could be under threat in the coming months, it is very concerning that Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings are preoccupied with reshuffling Whitehall.”

Johnson’s team has been criticised over its response to the coronavirus crisis, blamed by opposition parties and some scientists for being too slow to tackle the pandemic.

Britain now has one of the world’s highest death tolls from the disease and both the Bank of England and government budget forecasters have warned of the potential for unemployment to surge as the government phases out temporary support measures for workers hit by lockdown measures.

Sedwill also bore the brunt of criticism from Brexit supporters during Britain’s earlier negotiations with the EU over its exit from the bloc, with some Conservatives accusing him of not doing enough to prepare for a so-called no deal departure.

Earlier on Sunday, interior minister Priti Patel hinted that there could be changes. “This is the people’s government, delivering on the people’s priorities, and effectively any reforming government will be based around the type of delivery that our prime minister wants to drive for our great country and obviously have the right kind of support around him to deliver that,” she told Sky News.

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DRC PM lashes out at 'arbitrary' detention of justice minister

As fractions within the gov’t widen, the PM calls for disciplinary action against magistrate responsible for the arrest.

The prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sylvestre Ilunga, has threatened to resign after President Felix Tshisekedi ordered the arrest of the minister of justice, highlighting increasing tensions within the governing coalition.

Justice Minister Celestin Tunda Ya Kasende was detained for hours on Saturday after clashing on Friday with Tshisekedi over proposed changes to the judiciary.

“This serious and unprecedented incident is likely to weaken the stability and the harmonious functioning of institutions, and to cause the resignation of the government,” Prime Minister Ilunga said in a statement on Sunday.

“No member of the government can be prosecuted for opinions expressed during deliberations of the council of ministers,” Ilunga said, referring to the meeting where Tshisekedi and Tunda reportedly quarrelled over the judicial changes.

Ilunga said the magistrates responsible for what he called Tunda’s “brutal and arbitrary arrest” should face disciplinary action.

The controversial judicial reforms include proposals to define the powers of judges, which critics say is a ploy to muzzle the judiciary in a country known for its instability.

In a sign of protest against the changes, Tshisekedi’s supporters took to the streets for two days last week in violent demonstrations that were dispersed by using tear gas and water cannon by the police.

The arrest highlights the growing tensions within the coalition government between Tshisekedi’s camp and that of his predecessor, Joseph Kabila, who still wields huge behind-the-scenes influence.

Both Ilunga and Tunda Ya Kasende are members of the Common Front for Congo (FCC) a grouping close to Kabila which sits alongside Tshisekedi’s Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) in government and accounts for about two-thirds of cabinet posts.

Tshisekedi, previously an opponent of Kabila, came to power in January 2019 after being declared the winner of an election that Kabila was ineligible to contest after 18 years in power.

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Trump sued over clearing peaceful protesters: Live updates

Lawsuit says Trump and officials ‘unlawfully conspired to violate’ demonstrators’ rights when clearing Lafayette Park.

  • South Africa’s governing party said it is launching a “Black Friday” campaign in response to the “heinous murder” of George Floyd and “institutionalised racism” in the United States.

  • Twitter has removed President Donald Trump’s campaign tribute video to George Floyd on its platform, citing a copyright complaint.

  • Rights group the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has sued the Trump administration, claiming officials violated the civil rights of protesters.

  • Mayor of Washington, DC, called for the withdrawal from the city of military units sent from other states to deal with protesters.

  • Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office has said it will no longer enforce a curfew put in place to quell protests.

Latest updates:

Friday, June 5

This blog has been closed out for the day. Please go here for the latest on the protests against police brutality in the US. 

15:35 GMT – Minnesota weights changes to officer-involved deaths 

Minnesota’s county attorneys want to give the state attorney general the authority to handle all cases of police-involved deaths.

The Minnesota County Attorneys Association voted Thursday in transferring that power during an emergency meeting, which included Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Ellison is leading the state’s case against the four police officers involved in George Floyd’s death instead of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

State lawmakers would need to pass legislation during this month’s special session to give the attorney general the ongoing authority.

“If this is the path the Legislature and governor choose to take, my office will accept the responsibility,” Ellison said. “But it must come with resources sufficient to do the job thoroughly and to do justice in the way Minnesotans have a right to expect.”

14:38 GMT – Calls to clarify unidentified law enforcement in DC continue

Activists and politicians called on Trump to idenfifiy which law enforcement agencies were deployed across DC in response to protests against police brutality. 

Law enforcement facing down demonstrators were seen without identification, including badges or names, across the protests. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote a letter on Thursday asking Trump to clarify which agencies were present at the protests. 

“I am writing to request a full list of the agencies involved and clarifications of the roles and responsibilities of the troops and federal law enforcement resources operating in the city. Congress and the American people need to know who is in charge, what is the chain of command, what is the mission, and by what authority is the National Guard from other states operating in the capital,” she wrote.

12:45 GMT – UK embassy raises US protests with Trump administration

Britain’s embassy in Washington, DC has raised the issue of continuing protests in the US with the Trump administration, including the treatment of British journalists by police, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

“Our embassy in the US has raised the issue of the protests with the US administration – including on behalf of British journalists who were subject to police action,” the spokesman told reporters.

10:50 GMT – South Africa launches ‘Black Friday’ in response to ‘heinous murder’

South Africa’s governing party said it is launching a “Black Friday” campaign in response to the “heinous murder” of George Floyd and “institutionalised racism” in the US, at home, in China and “wherever it rears its ugly head”. 

A statement by the African National Congress said President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday evening will address the launch of the campaign that calls on people to wear black on Fridays in solidarity. 

The campaign is also meant to highlight “deaths by citizens at the hands of security forces” in South Africa, which remains one of the world’s most unequal countries a quarter-century after the end of the racist system of apartheid. 

“The demon of racism remains a blight on the soul of our nation,” the ANC statement said.

08:40 GMT – Players send video message to NFL about racial inequality

Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley and Michael Thomas are among more than a dozen National Football League stars who united to send a passionate video message to the NFL about racial inequality.

The 70-second video was released on social media platforms on Thursday night and includes Odell Beckham Jr, Deshaun Watson, Ezekiel Elliott, Jamal Adams, Stephon Gilmore and DeAndre Hopkins, among others. 

Thomas, the New Orleans Saints wide receiver who has led the league in receptions the past two seasons, opens the video with the statement: “It’s been 10 days since George Floyd was brutally murdered.” The players then take turns asking, “What if I was George Floyd?”

The players then name several of the Black men and women who have recently been killed, including Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Eric Garner. 

07:05 GMT – Australia: NSW files suit to stop Black Lives Matter protest

Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, has lodged a legal application to stop a Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney, state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Friday.

Thousands of people have pledged to attend a protest organised in Sydney on Saturday following the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man.

The organisers had secured permission for the protest as they originally planned to have fewer than 500 people. But Berejiklian said when it became clear that thousands planned to attend, the legal application was made to the state’s Supreme Court.

06:35 GMT – Twitter pulls down Trump video tribute to Floyd over copyright

Twitter has disabled President Trump’s campaign tribute video to Floyd on its platform, citing a copyright complaint.

The clip, which is a collation of photos and videos of protest marches and instances of violence in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, has Trump speaking in the background.

“We respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorised representatives,” a Twitter representative said.

The 03:45-minute video uploaded on Trump’s YouTube channel was tweeted by his campaign on June 3.

The clip, which is still on YouTube, had garnered more than 60,000 views and 13,000 likes. 

05:34 GMT – South Korea activists demand justice 

Dozens of protesters gathered in the South Korean capital of Seoul to condemn police brutality in the US and demand justice for Floyd’s death.  

Announcing a joint statement in front of the downtown US Embassy, members of human rights groups and other participants also called for South Korea’s government to make a statement against the “racial discrimination and state violence” of its ally.  

They said South Korea should also address its own problems with racial discrimination and urged the government to push for an anti-discrimination law, which had been resisted by conservatives and church groups for years, to improve the lives of migrant workers, undocumented foreigners and other minorities.

“As the US civil society empowered and stood in solidarity with Korean pro-democracy activists in the past, we will now stand in solidarity with citizens in the United States,” said activist Lee Sang-hyun, referring to South Koreans’ bloody struggles against military dictatorships that ruled the country until the late 1980s.

“In remembering George Floyd, we also wish to eliminate discrimination in South Korea’s society,” Lee said, reading out a statement.  

05:15 GMT – Australians urged to stay away from Black Lives Matter protest

Scott Morrison, the prime minister of Australia, urged people not to attend Black Lives Matter protests that are expected to take place in major cities this weekend citing concern over the possible spread of the coronavirus at the gatherings. 

Organisers expect thousands of people to attend rallies in Sydney, Melbourne and other cities that aim to focus attention on Australia’s poor record on police treatment of Indigenous people. 

The protests have split opinion, with some state police and legislators approving the action despite the health risks. Morrison said people should find other ways to express their anger.

“The health advice is very clear, it’s not a good idea to go,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra. “Let’s find a better way and another way to express these sentiments … let’s exercise our liberties responsibly.”

Read more here. 

05:06 GMT – Man who charged New York protesters with knife claw arrested                

A man seen on video charging protesters in New York while wearing a glove with four long, serrated-edged blades surrendered to authorities, the Queens district attorney said.

People were peacefully gathering on the overpass above the Cross Island Parkway when Frank Cavalluzzi, 54, jumped out of a vehicle on Tuesday afternoon, shouting “I will kill you,” and chasing protesters while wearing the knife-claw glove, a press release from the office of District Attorney Melinda Katz said.

He then got back into his vehicle and drove on a pavement, nearly running over the demonstrators, the release said.

Cavalluzzi turned himself in on Thursday morning and was arraigned on charges of second-degree attempted murder, multiple degrees of attempted assault, reckless endangerment and other offences.

“In a burst of anger and rage, this defendant allegedly sought to kill protesters who were peacefully assembled and exercising their right to free speech,” Katz said, adding that it was “amazing” no one was injured.

02:45 GMT – Two police officers suspended for pushing a protester in New York

Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood has ordered the immediate suspension of the two officers involved in a video showing them pushing a man after a protest in Niagara Square. Local media reported that the man in the video was taken to the hospital. 

Warning: Graphic video

GRAPHIC: Buffalo police shove a peaceful elderly man to the ground, he hits his head, goes unconscious and starts bleeding out. The police do nothing to help.

These officers must be fired and charged. pic.twitter.com/PE6I3Cq3IO

01:30 GMT – New York Times says senator’s op-ed did not meet standards

The New York Times said a controversial op-ed it published by Republican Senator Tom Cotton – an op-ed that advocated the use of federal troops to quell demonstrations – did not meet its standards. 

The Times reported that it had reviewed how Cotton’s Send in the Troops editorial came to be published online and in the paper. “This review made clear that a rushed editorial process led to the publication of an Op-Ed that did not meet our standards,” a Times spokeswoman said in a statement.

The decision came after a day of protests by Times staffers who believed the editorial was insensitive amid nationwide protests after last week’s death of George Floyd.

00:40 GMT – 8:46: A number that became a potent symbol of police brutality

All protest movements have slogans. George Floyd’s has a number: 8:46.

Eight minutes, 46 seconds – that’s the length of time prosecutors say Floyd was pinned to the ground under a white Minneapolis police officer’s knee before he died last week.

In the days since, outraged protesters, politicians and mourners have seized on the detail as a quiet way to honour Floyd. Even as prosecutors have said little about how they arrived at the precise number, it has fast grown into a potent symbol of the suffering Floyd – and many other Black men – have experienced at the hands of police.

Demonstrators this week laid down on streets staging “die-ins” for precisely eight minutes, 46 seconds.

In Washington, Democratic senators gathered in the US Capitol’s Emancipation Hall, some standing, some kneeling on the marbled floor for the nearly nine minutes of silence.

Mourners at a memorial service for Floyd in Minneapolis stood in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds, as they were asked by the Reverend Al Sharpton to “think about what George was going through, laying there for those eight minutes, begging for his life”.

Read more here. 

00:20 GMT – Downtown Detroit to be lit purple

Starting Thursday night, the buildings of downtown Detroit, Michigan, will be lit purple in honour of George Floyd and all those whose lives were tragically cut short by injustice, violence and police brutality, the city’s municipality announced in a press release.

The effort will go through June 9, the day of Floyd’s funeral in Houston. Detroiters will also hold a silent vigil in front of their homes on Sunday night. 

“The idea to light the city and host a citywide vigil came to me in recognition of the deep pain and brokenness we are all feeling, especially our black community, in light of George Floyd’s murder,” councilmember Raquel Castaneda Lopez said. “Too many black and brown lives have been lost to violence and police brutality, perpetuating the trauma these communities have experienced for generations,” she said.

Thursday, June 4

23:35 GMT – Floyd-inspired protests erupt in Mexico

Anger built in Mexico over its own police brutality case: a young man allegedly beaten to death after officers detained him for not wearing a face mask during the coronavirus pandemic.

The #GeorgeFloyd protests have inspired people in Mexico to call out murders at the hands of the police. Last month in Jalisco, police detained Giovanni Lopéz because he wasn’t wearing a face mask. They beat him. He died in police custody. People now demand #JusticiaParaGiovanni pic.twitter.com/wE0b3d3LSO

An online campaign to bring Giovanni Lopez’s killers to justice has drawn support from celebrities like filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and actress Salma Hayek.

The hashtag #JusticeForGiovanni was gaining traction on Thursday.

Authorities in the western state of Jalisco have said that Lopez was detained May 4 in a town near the city of Guadalajara for a misdemeanor equivalent to disturbing the peace or resisting arrest.

COPS MURDERED GIOVANNI

Giovanni Lopez, 30yo day laborer arrested for not wearing a mask, criminalised by cops and brutally beaten to death bc he belongs to the Mexican racialized underclass.

ACAB EVERYWHERE

https://t.co/ifIhGkqFhm… #JusticiaParaGiovanni#JusticeForGiovanni pic.twitter.com/Qv617s5gWB

A video of his detention shows municipal police wrestling him into a patrol truck as residents argued with officers about excessive use of force and rules requiring face masks, a measure designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Hours later, Lopez was taken from his cell for medical treatment and died. 

23:00 GMT – Rights groups sue Trump over clearing of peaceful protesters

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the administration of US President Donald Trump, alleging that officials violated the civil rights of protesters who were forcefully removed from a park near the White House by police using chemical agents before Trump walked to a nearby church to take a photo.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court, comes as Attorney General William Barr defended the decision to forcefully remove the peaceful protesters, saying it was necessary to protect officers and federal property.

The suit argues that Trump, Barr and other officials “unlawfully conspired to violate” the protesters’ rights when clearing Lafayette Park on Monday. Law enforcement officers aggressively forced the protesters back, firing smoke bombs and pepper balls into the crowd to disperse them from the park.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the group Black Lives Matter DC and individual protesters who were present. It is filed by the ACLU of DC, Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the law firm of Arnold & Porter.

22:50 GMT – Man who aimed bow and arrow at protesters arrested

A US man captured on video aiming a bow and arrow at protesters in Salt Lake City, Utah over the weekend was charged with assault and weapon possession.

Brandon McCormick was charged with possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, as well as aggravated assault and threatening or using a dangerous weapon in a fight or quarrel.

He was reportedly pushed to the ground on Saturday after pointing the bow and arrow at people protesting the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. People then flipped over his car and set it on fire.

22:00 GMT – National Guard faces ‘tremendous challenge’ in DC: Tennessee governor

Tennessee National Guard troops face a “tremendous challenge” as they head to the nation’s capital at the request of President Donald Trump to help quell protests, Governor Bill Lee told troops.

“You’ve been called upon to protect the rights, the freedoms, and the privileges that Americans have to peacefully protest – to exercise their First Amendment rights in a way that they feel safe, and therefore, they can be heard,” Lee said before the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment boarded a C-17 military transport plane headed to Washington, DC.

“But you’ve also been called up to protect the lives and the property … against those who hijack peaceful protests and turn them into violent riots. Balancing that protection is a tremendous challenge,” the Republican continued.

Tennessee is one of several states to send National Guard troops to Washington. Roughly 1,000 Tennessee troops are expected to be in Washington no later than Saturday. However, at least three states with Democratic governors – New York, Virginia and Delaware – have so far rejected the request.

The Trump administration asked multiple states to send troops to Washington at the same time as the president recently criticised many governors as “weak” for not using the National Guard more aggressively in their own states.

20:15 GMT – Wisconsin governor defends decision to deploy National Guard

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers defended his decision to deploy the Wisconsin National Guard to help police control protests over George Floyd’s death.

Evers told reporters during a conference call that he deployed the Guard to protect property in Madison, including the state Capitol building, and utilities in Milwaukee. If the troops actively intervened, they did so at the direction of local authorities, he said.

Evers said Thursday the protests are a watershed opportunity to fix systemic racism. He encouraged people to demonstrate lawfully.

“First Amendment rights are not to be trampled in this state or any other state,” Evers said. “Those who decide to do damage are damaging the First Amendment and they’re damaging the opportunity for thousands of people across Wisconsin to exercise that First Amendment right.”

19:53 GMT – An eight-minute silence held as memorial ends

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, where George Floyd died, Reverand Al Sharpton cut into a session of religious music to start an eight-minute silence to honour Floyd, who was held down by Chauvin’s knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds. 

Sharpton called actress Tiffany Haddish and Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother, to stand next to him during the silence. Garner died in 2014 after a police officer put him in a chokehold. In his last moments, he could be heard saying: “I can’t breathe.”

Haddish was joined in attendance by other celebrities including actors, musicians, activists and politicians. Kevin Hart, Ludacris, TI, Tyrese Gibson, Master P, Reverend Jesse Jackson and Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar were all at the memorial service.

Read more here.

19:23 GMT – ‘Get your knee off our neck’ – Al Sharpton 

Reverend Al Sharpton gave the eulogy at Floyd’s memorial in Minneapolis. He said it wasn’t a “normal” funeral and Floyd didn’t die of natural causes.

“He died of a common American criminal justice malfunction”, Sharpton said. 

“There has not been the corrective behaviour that has taught this country that if you commit a crime, it does not matter whether you wear blue jeans or a blue uniform, you must pay for the crime you had committed.”, he continued.

Sharpton said he eulogised Eric Garner, another Black man who was killed by police officers and whose final words were “I can’t breathe”.  What happened to men like Floyd and Garner “happens every day” in the US, through institutional racism, Sharpton said. 

“We were smarter than the underfunded schools you put us in, but you had your knee on our neck. We had creative skills, we could do whatever anybody else could do, but we couldn’t get your knee off our neck.” 

Calling for change, Sharpton said it’s “time to stand up in George’s name … and say get your knee off our necks”.

19:11 GMT – ‘What we saw was torture’ 

Benjamin Crump, the lawyer for Floyd’s family, started his address to the Minneapolis memorial service with a quote from Dr Martin Luther King Jr: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

Crump, who yesterday celebrated the elevation of charges against former police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck – along with charges for the three other cops involved – said that what people saw in the video of Floyd’s death was “torture”.  

Crump called on people to protest the injustice committed against Floyd and against other members of the African-American community. 

“We cannot cooperate with evil,” he said. “We cannot cooperate with injustice. We cannot cooperate with torture. Because George Floyd deserved better than that.”

18:58 GMT – There will be justice: Philonise Floyd 

Philonise Floyd, George’s brother, told mourners at his memorial that George was like “a general” and that people wanted to follow him. 

Philonise described his brother as a man who made people feel “like the president”. He said people “wanted to greet him” and “wanted to have fun with him.”

Philonise ended his remarks by saying “everybody want justice, we want justice for George. He’s going to get it.”

18:00 GMT – Hundreds to attend Minneapolis memorial

Hundreds are expected to attend on Thursday the first of several planned memorials for George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota last month.

The Minneapolis event will kick off a week of services to honour Floyd, whose death on May 25, captured on video, set off protests across the United States, and worldwide.

Read more. 

17:45 GMT – DC mayor says out-of-state troops should leave US capital

The mayor of Washington, DC, on Thursday called for the withdrawal from the US capital of military units sent from other states to deal with protests against police brutality and racism.

“We want troops from out of state out of Washington DC,” Mayor Muriel Bowser told a news conference. 

17:00 GMT – Protesters should ‘highly consider’ getting COVID-19 tests

Protesters – particularly in cities that have struggled to control the novel coronavirus – should “highly consider” getting tested for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, a top US health official said on Thursday.

“Those individuals that have partaken in these peaceful protests or have been out protesting, and particularly if they’re in metropolitan areas that really haven’t controlled the outbreak … we really want those individuals to highly consider being evaluated and get tested,” Robert Redfield, director for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a US House of Representatives committee.

Redfield also said the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to be a close colleague in public health efforts. US President Donald Trump said on Friday that the US will end its relationship with the WHO over the body’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

17:00 GMT – Republican senator ‘struggling’ over whether to back Trump in election

US Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, said on Thursday that she is struggling over whether she can support President Donald Trump’s re-election bid, saying criticism of Trump’s response to nationwide protests by former Defense Secretary James Mattis rang true.

Asked if she supported Trump, a fellow Republican who faces the nation’s voters again in November, she said, “I am struggling with it. I have struggled with it for a long time.”

“He is our duly elected president. I will continue to work with him … but I think right now as we are all struggling to find ways to express the words that need to be expressed appropriately,” Murkowski added.

16:48 GMT – LA County Sheriff’s office will no long enforce curfew

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office said on Twitter that it will no longer enforce a curfew put in place to quell protests. 

“Based upon current situational awareness and the recent pattern of peaceful actions by protesters, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (@LASDHQ) will no longer enforce a curfew,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva tweeted. “Other jurisdictions are free to make their own decisions.”

Other jurisdictions are free to make their own decisions.

____________________________________________________________________

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the protests in the US over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath in Louisville, Kentucky, Creede Newton in Washington, DC, and Lucien Formichella in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Here are a few things to catch up on:

  • George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old Black man, died on May 25 after a white officer used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck to the ground for nearly nine minutes. Floyd can be heard on a bystander video repeatedly pleading with officers, saying: “I can’t breathe.” He eventually lies motionless with the officer’s knee still on his neck. You can read about the deadly incident here.
  • The four officers involved in the incident were fired, and all have been charged. 
  • Protests – some violent – have since erupted nationwide as demonstrators rally for justice for Floyd and all unarmed Black people killed by police.

See the updates from Tuesday’s protests here.

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