From The Guardian

Civil rights groups sue Trump over assault on peaceful protesters near White House

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Protesters were forcefully removed from a park near the White House before Trump walked to a nearby church to take a photo

The American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups are suing Donald Trump, William Barr and other federal officials over the assault on peaceful protesters near the White House on Monday, to allow the president to hold a photo op at a historic church.

According to a release from the ACLU of the District of Columbia, the lawsuit filed on behalf of Black Lives Matter DC and individual protesters accuses Trump and the other officials are accused of “violating their constitutional rights and engaging in an unlawful conspiracy to violate those rights”.

Related: 'How did we get here?': Trump has normalised mayhem and the US is paying the price

Related: A photo op as protests swirled: how Trump came to walk to the church

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'Listen to the oppressed': protesters stay the course as cities ease curfews

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Demonstrations and memorials continue to honor George Floyd as cities from Los Angeles to Washington DC scrap restrictions

Protesters took to the streets once again on Thursday, some under loosened restrictions, as cities from Washington DC to Los Angeles rolled back curfews after days of demonstrations and confrontations with police. 

Tensions have eased somewhat in recent days as large, peaceful demonstrations continue, prompting some mayors to ease up on the restrictions aimed at quelling unrest.

Related: ACLU suing Trump over assault on peaceful protesters near White House

Crowd dancing to Mac Dre, three hours after #Oakland’s curfew

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Thousands in Hong Kong defy ban to hold Tiananmen Square vigil – video

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Protesters in Hong Kong have defied a police ban to mark the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown with a vigil, as the city’s legislature passed a law criminalising the mocking of China’s national anthem. Many fear this year’s commemoration might be Hong Kong’s last, as the proposed imposition of Chinese laws on the special administrative region would prevent and punish activities that threaten national security.

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Vallejo police kill unarmed 22-year-old, who was on his knees with his hands up

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An officer in the northern California city mistakenly believed Sean Monterrosa had a gun, but it was a hammer in his pocket

Police in northern California fatally shot an unarmed 22-year-old who was on his knees with his hands up outside a Walgreens store while responding to a call of alleged looting, officials said.

An officer in the city of Vallejo was inside his car when he shot Sean Monterrosa on Monday night amid local and national protests against police brutality. Police said an officer mistakenly believed Monterrosa had a gun, but later determined he had a hammer in his pocket.

Related: Black people in California are stopped far more often by police, major study proves

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The armed white men who terrorized Philadelphia’s Black Lives Matter supporters

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Protesters reported men ripping up signs, yelling homophobic slurs, and spitting on people. And the police greeted them as friends

As thousands in Philadelphia marched to end police brutality against Black Americans on Monday, a group of white men carrying bats, golf clubs, and other improvised weapons gathered in the city’s Fishtown neighborhood. 

Drawing comparisons to brownshirts, the group of about 50 to 70 men were filmed heckling and threatening a small group of protestors in the neighborhood. 

Related: 'Your lives matter': Obama offers words of hope in contrast to Trump's division

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'Slide to illiberalism': ex-general joins chorus of condemnation of Trump

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John Allen warns that politicisation of the military could be the beginning of the end of ‘the American experiment’

The retired marine general who led the global coalition against Isis and commanded US forces in Afghanistan has warned that Donald Trump’s actions this week could start a US “ slide into illiberalism” and the beginning of the end of “the American experiment”.

In denouncing the president for his response to the George Floyd protests, John Allen became the latest in a string of venerable military figures to have gone public over what they describe as the threat posed by Trump to the non-political nature of the armed forces, and more broadly to US democracy.

Related: Pentagon chief opposes Trump threat to deploy military at protests

Related: James Mattis condemns Trump’s handling of George Floyd protests

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George Floyd's family gather for memorial in Minneapolis: ‘The fight is not over’

The Guardian | Protest -

The family of George Floyd and invitees gathered on Thursday afternoon in Minneapolis for the first of three memorial services across the country planned to mark the violent death of the 46-year-old African American man under the knee of a white police officer on 25 May.

Since then crowds have gathered day and night in Minneapolis for huge protests – marred by bouts of violent unrest and looting – and to pay tribute at the site where Floyd was pinned to the street during an arrest attempt.

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Could the killing of George Floyd be a turning point for American denial? | Emma Brockes

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This latest death at the hands of police has sparked a sense of emergency, as the cracks in the American story are further exposed

It was Don DeLillo, the novelist, who in the wake of 9/11 said of America, “the culture absorbs almost everything”. It’s a conservative reflex – to co-opt any rebellion into the country’s existing idea of itself – and as protests against the death of George Floyd roiled this week, you could see that reflex in action. Instagram filled with solidarity from white people that sounded a lot like personal branding. Corporations with terrible hiring records put out statements about standing together. A friend who works for a big company, on receiving a lachrymose global email from her CEO, said drily, “What is he talking about? They don’t even give us Martin Luther King Day off.”

Related: Systemic racism and police brutality are British problems too | Kojo Koram

Related: US police have a history of violence against black people. Will it ever stop?

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Is it safe to protest during a pandemic? Experts answer our questions

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Protests over the police killing of George Floyd have sparked health concerns, but many experts say police violence is its own kind of epidemic

Protests have erupted nationwide in response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, and public health experts warn of a likely uptick in Covid-19 infections. “There is the concern that protests could be super spreader events,” said Kim Sue, a physician who has participated in demonstrations.

And yet many health experts – aware of the risk – say they still support the protests, suggesting that police violence is its own kind of epidemic. We spoke with three of them.

Dr Georges Benjamin, physician and executive director, American Public Health Association

Lauren Powell, epidemiologist and vice-president, head of healthcare industry, Time’s Up

Dr Kimberly Sue, physician and anthropologist, and the medical director of the Harm Reduction Coalition

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Oxford college heads stand with black students to fight against systemic racism | Letter

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We must advance equal dignity and respect, diversity of thought, good race relations, tolerance and multiculturalism in our institutions and the world

The events in the US dramatise the consequences of allowing deeply embedded racist attitudes to be subject to too little challenge. Conscious and unconscious racial bias, and inaction in addressing them, remain prevalent across many institutions.

We write in a personal capacity as heads of Oxford colleges to reassert our belief in the need to promote, protect and advance equal dignity and respect, diversity of thought, good race relations, tolerance and multiculturalism in our institutions and the world.

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China will crush dissent in Hong Kong, just as it did in Tiananmen Square | Ma Jian

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The state wants us to forget, but those of us who were there in 1989 cling to our memories – and worry for Hong Kong

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre last year, I posted a photograph online of a night scene showing the mass hunger strike that took place there. It was taken by a friend of mine in May 1989 from the roof of Beijing’s Museum of Chinese History. He allowed me to share it as long as his identity was concealed, knowing that in China, this visual testament to a still taboo event could land him in jail.

Related: The US needs to stand up for Hong Kong to deter China's crackdowns | Michael H Fuch

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Movement to defund police gains 'unprecedented' support across US

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Activists say the way to stop police brutality and killings is to cut law enforcement budgets and reinvest in services. Some lawmakers now agree

The movement to defund the police is gaining significant support across America, including from elected leaders, as protests over the killing of George Floyd sweep the nation.

For years, activists have pushed US cities and states to cut law enforcement budgets amid a dramatic rise in spending on police and prisons while funding for vital social services have shrunk or disappeared altogether.

Related: George Floyd protests: more than 3,000 arrested in Los Angeles county

Los Angeles: the police budget is $1.8bn, and the mayor has for weeks been pushing for raises and bonuses for officers and an overall 7% increase that would make the budget more than half of the general fund. But on Wednesday, he said he was now looking to make cuts to the police budget.

New York: The mayor is pushing to leave the NYPD’s nearly $6bn budget intact while slashing education and youth programs and cutting other agencies by as much as 80%.

Philadelphia: The mayor has proposed spending $977m on police and prisons, which is 20% of the general fund. A $14m increase for police comes as the city is cutting funding for youth violence prevention, arts and culture, workforce development, and laying off staff at recreation centers and libraries. 

If police had been serious about reform and policy change, then guess what? People would not be this angry

We’ve been thinking every day about how social services and the public safety net are failing people

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Trump’s Bible photo op splits white evangelical loyalists into two camps

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Ardent supporters saw the photo op as a blow against evil while others saw the gesture as cynical and a ploy

On Monday when Donald Trump raised overhead a Bible – the Sword of the Spirit, to believers – he unwittingly cleaved his loyal Christian supporters into two camps. 

His most ardent evangelical supporters saw it as a blow against evil and described his walk from the White House to St John’s Episcopal church, over ground violently cleared of protesters, as a “Jericho walk”.

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The George Floyd protests – and riots – are a rebellion against an unjust system | Philip McHarris

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Police brutality, white vigilantism and poverty – not property damage - are the true violence

Rebellion is etched into American, and human, history. When people are systematically beaten, killed and not given the resources to thrive, rebellion becomes inevitable. It serves as a human response to conditions that become so untenable that rising up becomes instinctual, despite the consequences. Social transformation has long been forged in the ashes of rebellion, though today rebellion is only acknowledged as a potent tool in retrospect. 

A local store called the police on George Floyd after he allegedly tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill. Soon after, George Floyd was gratuitously murdered by four police officers. In the days following, protests erupted in Minneapolis and spread throughout the country. In many cities, people protesting police violence have been met with even more police violence. 

Related: In America, Black deaths are not a flaw in the system. They are the system

A riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? …It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity…as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. 

Capitalism, which is inextricably tied to race, has created a society filled with unnecessary pain, suffering, and premature death

Philip V McHarris is a writer and Ph.D candidate at Yale. His work focuses on race, housing, and policing

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New York police take seconds to restore reputation for brutality

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Driving vehicles into protesters demanding justice for George Floyd earned the backing of the mayor, but of few others

It doesn’t take long to blow up a reputation. In the case of the New York police department, an institution with an already troubled history, the clip lasted all of 27 seconds.

It showed an NYPD vehicle in Brooklyn lined up against a metal barricade behind which protesters were chanting during Saturday’s demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd. Projectiles were thrown on to the roof of the car, then suddenly a second police SUV drew up alongside and instead of stopping continued to plough straight into the crowd.

Related: NYPD officers call re-training in wake of Eric Garner death a 'waste of time'

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The US would condemn other countries who acted this way. What a sad state of affairs | Michael H Fuchs

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America’s brutal response to protests has weakened its global standing - and been a propaganda gift to foreign dictators

The killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis was the latest tragedy illustrating a centuries-long history of racism in America, one so deeply ingrained that it endures despite the rights hard-won in the courts and Congress. Police brutality is, of course, just one of countless ways that African Americans and other people of color suffer from structural inequality and discrimination in America. 

Related: Trump has reached the 'mad emperor' stage, and it's terrifying to behold | Richard Wolffe

America is, justifiably, the focus of intense anger, frustration, and disappointment from people across the world

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Tiananmen Square witnesses remember an air of celebration, and then 'Orwellian silence'

The Guardian | Protest -

Student protesters and journalists in 1989 recall the joy and hope before the crackdown

It was mid-morning in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on 1 June, 1989. Someone had turned on a boombox playing 80s disco music, and people began to dance. A young couple spins in a small opening in the crowd. The woman smiles slightly, her eyes almost closed, as her partner in a loose dress shirt and blazer turns her. Around them, people are clapping.

It is a photo that captures a side of the pro-democracy movement often overshadowed by what came after – the brutal military crackdown on the evening of 3 June and morning of 4 June. There is no official death toll but activists believe hundreds, possibly thousands, were killed.

Related: Hong Kong braces as protesters plan to defy Tiananmen vigil ban

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'Your lives matter': Obama offers words of hope in contrast to Trump's division

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Former president’s optimistic remarks come as Trump threatens to crack down on George Floyd protests

Barack Obama has told young people of colour “your lives matter” in public remarks that supporters welcomed as an antidote to Donald Trump’s racially-charged and divisive threats to crack down on civil dissent.

America’s first black president on Tuesday expressed faith in young people in the US and said he remains “optimistic” about the future despite the police killing of George Floyd and mounting crises that Trump’s critics say leave the country crying out for leadership.

President Obama calls for people to VOTE: "I've been hearing a little bit of chatter in the Internet about 'voting vs. protest'... This is not an either-or. This is a both-and."

To bring about real change, we both have to highlight a problem and make people in power uncomfortable

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Hong Kong braces as protesters plan to defy Tiananmen vigil ban

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Tension high as authorities ban vigils marking 1989 pro-democracy movement ahead of vote on bill that would outlaw mocking Chinese anthem

Hong Kong is bracing for another tense day as its legislature prepares to pass a controversial bill criminalising mockery of China’s national anthem, which coincides with the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen square crackdown. Activists plan to defy a police ban and hold a candle-lit vigil in a downtown park to mark the event 31 years ago.

Many fear this year’s Tiananmen commemoration might be Hong Kong’s last, as looming national security laws imposed by China on the semi-autonomous city would prevent and punish “acts and activities” that threaten national security.

Related: Hong Kong crisis: at least 360 arrested as China protests grow

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