Protests erupted across the United States on Thursday night as anger over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, intensified.
Floyd died on Monday after a white police officer used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck to the ground for several minutes in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
A video of the incident shows Floyd pleading with officers, saying “I can’t breathe” before going motionless with the officer’s knee still on his neck.
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The four officers involved were swiftly fired, but Floyd’s family, community leaders and residents are calling for arrests to be made.
“These officers, they need to be arrested right now, the people want justice right now,” Philonese Floyd, George’s brother, told CNN on Thursday morning.
“They need to be convicted and get the death penalty,” Philonese Floyd said.
Hundreds of protesters marched in downtown Minneapolis for a third night on Thursday, demanding justice and an end to police violence.
“Say his name. George Floyd,” protesters chanted. “I can’t breathe.”
Video shared on social media showed protesters stopping their march at one point, kneeling and raising a fist in a moment of silence.
Moment of silence for #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/UDt9XthWK4
— Ricardo Lopez (@rljourno) May 29, 2020
Later in the evening, a large fire could be seen near the third precinct of the Minneapolis police department.
Earlier on Thursday, a small group of protesters “occupied” the space outside the home of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, who will handle the case, to demand criminal charges for the four officers involved.
“We aren’t going anywhere until Mike Freeman prosecutes and charges the officers,” protesters said in a Facebook Live video, with at least one tent put up on the sidewalk outside the county attorney’s home.
Protesters gather outside the home of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to protest the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man [Eric Miller/Reuters]
Freeman’s office said in a statement on Tuesday that it was was “shocked and saddened by what appeared in a recent video”.
It said it would make a decision on prosecution after it receives the completed findings of the investigations by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and FBI.
Freeman said on Thursday that his office would work through the case “as expeditiously, as thoroughly as justice demands”.
“We just can’t rush this,” Freeman said. “These need to be done right. Please give me and give me the United States attorney time to do this right and we will bring you justice.”
The officers involved have been identified as as Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng.
People gather outside the Hennepin County Government Center to protest the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, arrested by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota [Eric Miller/Reuters]
‘No justice, no peace’
Hundreds protested Tuesday and Wednesday night, chanting “I can’t breathe” and “no justice, no peace”.
Floyd’s death has been compared that of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died in 2014 after police put him in a chokehold. Some of Garner’s last words were “I can’t breathe”.
While the protests have initially been peaceful, they have descended into chaos with reports of looting, arson and vandalism.
Police have used tear gas and non-lethal projectiles to disperse the crowds.
Community leaders on Thursday urged protesters to remain peaceful, largely blaming reports of looting and vandalism on “outsiders”.
“We cannot allow outsiders or our own Minneapolis residents to destroy our city,” said Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins.
“We want to work together to ensure that people have their voices heard in a safe manner,” she said during a news conference alongside Mayor Jacob Frey.
Protesters gather at the scene where George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was pinned down by a police officer kneeling on his neck before later dying in hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the US [Eric Miller/Reuters]
For his part, Frey, who has called for the arrest of the officer who pinned Floyd down, said the city’s anger is “not only understandable, it’s right”.
“‘What we’ve seen over the last two days and the emotion-ridden conflict over the last night is the result of so much built-up anger and sadness … that has been ingrained in our black community – not just because of the five minutes of horror, but for 400 years,” he said.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz called in the US National Guard on Thursday to support local authorities as they braced for the night’s demonstrations.
Protests also took place in cities across the US, including New York City, Columbus, Ohio and Oakland, California, on Thursday.
Dozens of people were reportedly arrested during the New York City protest.
#BlackLivesMatter protest #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/Nxssshw9bk
— Gili Getz 🔥 (@giligetz) May 28, 2020
In Denver, Colorado, hundreds of people descended on the state capitol to protest against police brutality. Police confirmed that shots were fired near the area where the protest was taking place. It is unclear if the shots were related to the protest. Police said there were no immediate reports of injuries.
Several more protests are scheduled for Friday and over the weekend.
‘Your violence has brought this resistance’
Several prominent activists and sports stars meanwhile have expressed outrage over Floyd’s death and support for those protesting.
Rights activist and former National Football League player Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee during the national anthem at US football games to protest police brutality, tweeted that “we have to fight back!”
When civility leads to death, revolting is the only logical reaction. The cries for peace will rain down, and when they do, they will land on deaf ears, because your violence has brought this resistance. We have the right to fight back! Rest in Power George Floyd
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) May 28, 2020
“When civility leads to death, revolting is the only logical reaction,” Kaepernick said in support of the protesters. “The cries for peace will rain down, and when they do, they will land on deaf ears, because your violence has brought this resistance.”
The memorial of George Floyd is seen during the second day of protests in Minneapolis, Minnesota [Jordan Strowder/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]
In a joint statement on Thursday, US Attorney Erica MacDonald And FBI Special Agent In Charge Rainer Drolshagen said that the US Department of Justice has made the investigation into Floyd’s death a “top priority”.
“The federal investigation will determine whether the actions by the involved former Minneapolis Police Department officers violated federal law,” the statement read.
US President Donald Trump, who in the past has been accused of stoking racial tensions, on Thursday said he and his administration are “very much involved”.
He said the video of Floyd’s arrest was a “very shocking sight”, but he declined to say whether he believed the officers should be charged.
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Iran says ‘internal agents’ may be responsible for Natanz blast |NationalTribune.com
Tehran, Iran – The Iranian government said on Tuesday there are strong suspicions that “internal agents” played a role in a massive explosion that occurred at a key nuclear facility earlier this year. On July 2, a fire ripped through a building at Natanz, a major uranium enrichment site. Satellite images showed it caused the…
Tehran, Iran – The Iranian government said on Tuesday there are strong suspicions that “internal agents” played a role in a massive explosion that occurred at a key nuclear facility earlier this year.
On July 2, a fire ripped through a building at Natanz, a major uranium enrichment site. Satellite images showed it caused the roof to collapse and parts of the building were blackened by the blaze.
“One of the strong theories is based on internal agents being involved in the incident,” government spokesman Ali Rabiei told reporters at a news conference, according to the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA).
“The issue is being seriously reviewed by the country’s security organisations and we will announce the results after things are clear.”
It is the first time an Iranian official specifically pointed to the possibility of an inside job for the blast.
In late August, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization confirmed the damage to the facility was the result of “sabotage”.
“But how this explosion took place and with what materials … will be announced by security officials in due course,” spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said at the time, citing “security reasons” for not disclosing further information.
‘Sabotage is certain’
In early September, Kamalvandi announced Natanz saboteurs “have been identified” but refrained from discussing further details, including whether internal agents were complicit.
On Tuesday, Rabiei also reiterated that “sabotage is certain” but the incident still needs to be investigated due to its complexities.
The desert Natanz site, much of which is underground, is one of several Iranian facilities regularly monitored by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog.
Following the explosion, international media reports indicated Israel may have been behind the attack. Israel has been deliberately vague, neither confirming nor denying involvement while stressing the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran.
“Everyone can suspect us in everything and all the time, but I don’t think that’s correct,” Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said days after the attack.
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi also said “Iran cannot be allowed to have nuclear capabilities”, adding to that end, “We take actions that are better left unsaid.”
September’s announcement that Iran knows the saboteurs behind the Natanz explosion came one week after IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi visited the country.
The trip was successful, leading to Iran granting access to two suspected former nuclear sites that the UN watchdog wished to inspect.
“In this present context, based on analysis of available information to the IAEA, the IAEA does not have further questions to Iran and further requests for access to locations other than those declared by Iran,” the IAEA and Iranian officials said in a joint statement following the visit.
In a speech during the 64th session of the General Conference of the IAEA on Monday, the president of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi referred to the Natanz incident.
“These malicious acts need to be condemned by the agency and member states,” he said via video conference, adding “Iran reserves its rights to protect its facilities and take necessary actions against any threat as appropriate.”
Salehi also urged the UN watchdog not to compromise its “impartiality, independence and professionalism”.
Iran, UN and the United States are locked in a major disagreement centred around the landmark 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers, which US President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned in May 2018.
The US on Sunday declared it reinstated all UN sanctions on Iran, an announcement that was roundly rejected by the United Nations Security Council as lacking legal basis.
The US is trying to indefinitely extend an arms embargo on Iran that is set to expire in October as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the formal name of the nuclear deal.
Iran, which has always maintained it never pursued nuclear weapons, accepted the nuclear deal that removed all UN sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme.
The US reneged on the deal, unilaterally imposing a harsh campaign of sanctions that have hit almost all the productive sectors of the Iranian economy. US sanctions have also targeted Iranian officials and organisations.
In response, starting exactly one year after US sanctions were imposed and other parties failed to guarantee economic benefits promised Iran under the deal, Iran started gradually scaling back its nuclear commitments.
Palestine quits Arab League role in protest over Israel deals |NationalTribune.com
Palestine was meant to chair Arab League meetings for next six months, but FM Riyad al-Maliki has declined the position.Palestine has quit its current chairmanship of Arab League meetings, the Palestinian foreign minister said on Tuesday, condemning as dishonourable any Arab agreement to establish formal ties with Israel. Palestinians see the deals that the United…
Palestine was meant to chair Arab League meetings for next six months, but FM Riyad al-Maliki has declined the position.Palestine has quit its current chairmanship of Arab League meetings, the Palestinian foreign minister said on Tuesday, condemning as dishonourable any Arab agreement to establish formal ties with Israel.
Palestinians see the deals that the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed with Israel in Washington a week ago as a betrayal of their cause and a blow to their quest for an independent state in Israeli-occupied territory.
Earlier this month, the Palestinians failed to persuade the Arab League to condemn nations breaking ranks and normalising relations with Israel.
Palestine was supposed to chair Arab League meetings for the next six months, but Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told a news conference in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah that it no longer wanted the position.
“Palestine has decided to concede its right to chair the League’s council [of foreign ministers] at its current session. There is no honour in seeing Arabs rush towards normalisation during its presidency,” Maliki said.
In his remarks, he did not specifically name the UAE and Bahrain, Gulf Arab countries that share with Israel concern over Iran. He said Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit had been informed of the Palestinian decision.
Palestinians rally against Bahrain-Israel normalisation
The Palestinian leadership wants an independent state based on the de facto borders before the 1967 war, in which Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and annexed East Jerusalem.
Arab countries have long called for Israel’s withdrawal from illegally occupied land, a just solution for Palestinian refugees and a settlement that leads to the establishment of a viable, independent Palestinian state, in exchange for establishing ties with it.
In a new move addressing internal Palestinian divisions, officials from West Bank-based President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction and the Gaza-based Hamas movement were due to hold reconciliation talks in Turkey on Tuesday.
Hamas seized the Gaza Strip in 2007 from Fatah forces during a brief round of fighting. Differences over power-sharing have delayed implementation of unity deals agreed since then.
Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies
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