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Protesters in Britain demonstrate against Trump immigration policy

Several thousand people have protested in the UK against a US travel ban that affects several Muslim-majority nations. Critics see the ban as inflaming religious tensions and violating international laws on refugees. Thousands of people on Saturday heeded a call from rights groups and Muslim organizations in Britain to protest outside the US Embassy in London against President Trump's executive order suspending travel to the US from several Muslim-majority countries. Protesters held banners bearing slogans such as "No to Trump, No to War" and "Trump: Special Relationship? Just say no." The protest is taking place the day after a US judge temporarily suspended the order, saying the order had caused "immediate and irreparable injury." It is the third protest addressing various aspects of Trump's presidency to have taken place in the British capital in two weeks. A similar protest was to take place on Saturday afternoon before the US embassy in the Germany capital, Berlin. Trump, on Saturday, criticized a "so-called judge" for suspending the ban saying it was "ridiculous" and would be overturned. Anti-Muslim order? The executive order signed by Trump suspended entry to the United States to people traveling from seven Muslim-majority countries - Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen - for 90 days, as well as putting a temporary halt to the entire US refugee program.The administration said the move is designed to combat terrorism. The US State Department on Friday said that 60,000 visas had been revoked following Trump's order, after media reports quoted government lawyers as saying that more than 100,000 people had been affected. Critics of the order say that the ban has separated families, harmed thousands of US residents and goes against international law on taking in refugees fleeing conflict. Rights groups have also warned that the move could heighten religious tension and encourage Islamophobia. Australian protests The order also brought thousands of demonstrators onto the streets in Australia on Saturday, with protesters coupling their outrage at Trump's move with calls for Australia to close its offshore processing centers on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Australia's hardline refugee policy, which denies asylum to anybody attempting to enter the country by boat, has been slammed by rights groups, and the United Nations have called for the offshore centers to be shut amid allegations of violence, sexual assualt, degrading treatment and self-harm. The protests in Australia come following a diplomatic spat between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, with Trump calling a deal between the two nations struck by his predecessor, Barack Obama, "dumb." The deal is to see the United States taking up to 1,250 asylum-seekers held on Nauru and Manus to enable Canberra to stick to its "no boat" policy. In return, Australia would take in refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Trump later said he planned to stand by the agreement, which has been widely criticized in Australia. Student rallies against Trump's immigration policy were also held in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and outside the US embassy in the Philippine capital, Manila.

Several thousand people have protested in the UK against a US travel ban that affects several Muslim-majority nations. Critics see the ban as inflaming religious tensions and violating international laws on refugees. Thousands of people on Saturday heeded a call from rights groups and Muslim organizations in Britain to protest outside the US Embassy in London against President Trump’s executive ... Read More »

Obama ‘heartened’ by protests against US travel ban

Former US President Barack Obama has criticized the travel ban policy of his successor, Donald Trump. It comes as Washington's attorney general filed a lawsuit against the executive order, labeling it unconstitutional. Former US President Barack Obama on Monday added his voice to a myriad of American figures criticizing President Donald Trump's executive order, banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and suspending refugee resettlement in the country indefinitely. Obama "fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discrimination against individuals because of their faith or religion," the former president's spokesman Kevin Lewis said in a statement. Lewis noted that Obama was "heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities across the country" after thousands across the US and abroad protested against the executive order. "Citizens exercising their constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake," he added. The former president also rejected Trump's claims that his travel ban resembled what Obama did in 2011, when he banned visas for Iraqi refugees for six months. Obama's statement marks the first of its kind since he left office less than two weeks ago. Since then, hundreds of demonstrations have emerged across the country to protest Trump's executive orders, whether barring refugees from entering the country or building a wall on the US-Mexico border. 'No one is above the law' Meanwhile, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit challenging the executive order as illegal and unconstitutional. "No one is above the law - not even the president," Ferguson told a press briefing. "And in the courtroom, it is not the loudest voice that prevails. It's the constitution." While at least federal judges have moved to halt deportations, the White House has remained steadfast in its resolution that the travel ban will remain active. However, Ferguson's complaint argued that the travel ban was separating and harming families "and undermining Washington's sovereign interest in remaining a welcoming place for migrants and refugees." "Never has our system of checks and balances been more important," said Washington state Governor Jay Inslee at the press conference. "Until Congress takes this administration to task for the obvious moral and legal injuries suffered by innocent, law-abiding people entering our country, it is up to states to protect and promote the rights of the people who reside in our borders," he added. Major companies based in Washington, including Microsoft and Amazon, have provided information to Ferguson detailing the impact the ban would have on their business. "We'd be happy to testify further if needed," said a Microsoft spokesman.

Former US President Barack Obama has criticized the travel ban policy of his successor, Donald Trump. It comes as Washington’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against the executive order, labeling it unconstitutional. Former US President Barack Obama on Monday added his voice to a myriad of American figures criticizing President Donald Trump’s executive order, banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries ... Read More »

Charlotte police shooting: ‘State of emergency’ declared after violence

There are conflicting reports about the shooting, which happened during a second night of unrest in Charlotte, North Carolina. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse angry demonstrators. Charlotte city officials confirmed that a man suffered gunshot wounds during Wednesday evening's protests, and was on life support and in a critical condition. They contradicted an earlier report that the man had died from the shooting incident, which happened when a peaceful rally against the fatal police shooting of a black man on Tuesday turned violent. Police officials said the latest shooting victim had not been wounded by a police officer. North Carolina governor Pat McCrory later declared a state of emergency in Charlotte due to the unrest, a statement from his office said. Wednesday's protest got out of control after several hundred demonstrators approached a downtown intersection and began to surround and taunt groups of police and their patrol cars. Some protesters banged on glass windows, others threw objects at police and stood on cars as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets, prompting demonstrators to run. Protesters were also seen looting a convenience store after smashing its windows. Seven law-enforcement officers and one civilian were also taken to hospital for injuries sustained during the protests, city council official Kenny Smith said. Outrage in black community The trigger for the violence was the killing of Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday, who was shot dead in an apartment complex car park. The 43-year-old had been stopped by officers searching for a suspect. Police said Scott was armed and ignoring officers' orders when he was gunned down, while the victim's family and a witness said he was holding a book, not a weapon. Within hours of his killing, protesters had taken to the streets, clashing with police in riot gear. Sixteen officers were injured late on Tuesday and early Wednesday. Authorities have not released any video of the incident, but the city's mayor said they plan to do so. A string of fatal police shootings in recent months - from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to St. Paul, Minnesota - has left many Americans demanding law enforcement reforms and greater accountability.

There are conflicting reports about the shooting, which happened during a second night of unrest in Charlotte, North Carolina. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse angry demonstrators. Charlotte city officials confirmed that a man suffered gunshot wounds during Wednesday evening’s protests, and was on life support and in a critical condition. They contradicted an earlier report that ... Read More »

Gunmen surrender in Armenia police station siege

Police have arrested 20 "terrorists" after gunmen who occupied a police station in the Armenian capital surrendered. The armed group called for a jailed opposition leader to be released and for the president to resign. A group of anti-government gunmen surrendered to police on Sunday after occupying a police station in the Armenian capital of Yerevan for two weeks. "The security forces' anti-terrorist operation has ended and led to the members of the armed group laying down their weapons and surrendering to the authorities," Armenia's security services said. "Twenty terrorists were arrested." Earlier Sunday, an Armenian website published a statement reportedly made by a member of the group preempting the gunmen's surrender. "We will continue our struggle from prison. We believe that we have achieved our goal: we became the spark that allowed people to rise up and it makes no sense to spill blood," Varuzhan Avetisyan, a leading member of the group, was quoted as saying. Call for president to resign The group's surrender ended a weeks-long occupation of the police station, which began when the gunmen stormed the station on July 17, killing an officer and taking several hostages. The gunmen called for jailed opposition leader Jirair Sefilian to be released and demanded the resignation of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. The occupation prompted mass pro-opposition protests in the capital. Police on Friday used truncheons, stun grenades and smoke bombs to disperse crowds, leaving more than 70 people injured. A police officer was killed by sniper fire on Saturday, and authorities have blamed the gunmen. However, the group has denied any involvement with the shooting.

Police have arrested 20 “terrorists” after gunmen who occupied a police station in the Armenian capital surrendered. The armed group called for a jailed opposition leader to be released and for the president to resign. A group of anti-government gunmen surrendered to police on Sunday after occupying a police station in the Armenian capital of Yerevan for two weeks. “The ... Read More »

Baton Rouge protesters resume demonstrations against police violence

Despite overnight clashes that resulted in 30 arrests, demonstrators refused to back down in Louisiana. Hundreds gathered outside the shop where 37-year-old Alton Sterling was shot by white officers earlier this week. Hundreds of protesters continued their series of demonstrations on Saturday outside the store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where African-American Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police. The protests outside the Triple S convenience store continued despite a tense standoff the night before that saw 30 people arrested. Other protesters in Baton Rouge headed to the city's police department to continue the demonstration. Many carried signs or wore T-shirts with messages like the well-known "Black Lives Matter" or "I can't keep calm, I have a black son." "I've been active in the community for years. We have been suffering police brutality for a long time. A lot of racism has been going on here for a long time," said local activist Lael Montgomery. "I have kids. They need to be raised in a better environment than they're in." Communities demand end to police brutality Alton Sterling's death at the hands of two white police officers gained widespread attention after it was captured on a cellphone video. One officer can be heard shouting, "He's going for the gun!" Sterling was allegedly carrying a firearm in his pocket, though in the video he is already pinned to the ground. One of the officers involved in his death had previously been on forced leave from duty after a previous shooting of an African-American male. Sterling's death came just one day before that of Philando Castile, a black man who was shot during a traffic stop in Minnesota as he was reaching for his driver's license. The two men's deaths reignited the long-simmering debate about police brutality in America, which came to yet another violent head on Thursday when a peaceful protest in Dallas was disrupted by a sniper who shot dead five police officers and wounded several others. The gunman, Micah Xavier Johnson, was killed in a standoff, but reportedly told authorities before that he was motivated by revenge for police violence against African Americans. The Baton Rouge protests were joined by solidarity marches across the US and even as far away as London. Organizers have said they plan to continue their demonstrations into Sunday, including a march from City Hall to the state Capitol.

Despite overnight clashes that resulted in 30 arrests, demonstrators refused to back down in Louisiana. Hundreds gathered outside the shop where 37-year-old Alton Sterling was shot by white officers earlier this week. Hundreds of protesters continued their series of demonstrations on Saturday outside the store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where African-American Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police. The ... Read More »

Brazil’s Supreme Court to weigh in on political crisis

Brazil's former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has appealed to the Supreme Court to annul a ruling blocking his cabinet appointment. The unfolding political crisis continues to polarize the country. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva lodged an appeal Sunday to the country's highest court to overturn a ruling preventing his appointment as cabinet chief. Last week, a judge barred Silva from his appointment as chief of staff to his successor President Dilma Rousseff over suspicions that he sought out the post to escape arrest in a corruption investigation involving state oil company Petrobras. The Lula Institute, Silva's personal foundation, lashed out at that ruling and what it called a "series of arbitrary actions" by the judiciary. "Lula is not accused of any crime, even after an absolutely invasive investigation and the intimidation he has been subjected to in recent months," it said in a statement. The head of the probe investigating the Petrobras scandal barred Silva's appointment to the cabinet on Friday. As evidence in his ruling, the judge cited a tapped phone call between Rousseff and Silva in which the two discussed his cabinet appointment as a tactic to shield him from prosecution by granting ministerial immunity. Scandals threaten to taint Rousseff, Silva Dogged by an economic recession, a widening corruption scandal, impeachment proceedings and massive protests, Rousseff may not survive her second term. A poll published Sunday showed that out of nearly 2,800 respondents, 68 percent support impeachment of Rousseff. That's up 8 points since last month. Silva, who stepped down in 2011, denies money laundering charges and has accused opponents of trying to stage a "coup" against Rousseff. The ensuing scandal has brought large numbers of pro- and anti-government demonstrators into the streets in recent days.

Brazil’s former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has appealed to the Supreme Court to annul a ruling blocking his cabinet appointment. The unfolding political crisis continues to polarize the country. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva lodged an appeal Sunday to the country’s highest court to overturn a ruling preventing his appointment as cabinet chief. Last week, a judge barred ... Read More »

Brazil’s Rousseff on the edge as protesters demand her resignation

Anger against Brazilian President Rousseff is mounting as hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets across the country, demanding her resignation. A massive corruption scandal has shaken the government. Draped in yellow and green national flags, thousands of people chanted "Dilma out!" on Sunday in the latest wave of country-wide anti-government rallies. The South American leftist leader is facing a giant corruption scandal and is struggling to pull the country out of an unprecedented economic crisis. Dilma Rousseff denies involvement in an embezzlement and bribery scandal dealing with state oil company Petrobras. A bid to impeach her in Congress has stalled but it is likely to restart due to the pressure from opposition groups and street protests. Rousseff's key coalition partner, the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB) has threatened to leave the government. The protests, which lost momentum last year, have once against gained strength as a corruption investigation nears the president's inner circle. To add to Rousseff's woes, her mentor - the ex-president Lula da Silva - was questioned by federal police over allegations that he benefited from the Petrobras kickbacks. 'A decisive moment' "We are at a decisive moment for our country. We are going to start the change now," said Rogerio Chequer, leader of Vem Pra Rua, one of the organizers of the anti-Rousseff demonstrations. Some 100,000 people gathered in Brasilia and over 200,000 in Rio de Janerio on Sunday, according to rally organizers and media. Anti-government protesters took to the streets in some 400 cities across Brazil. "I came (to the rally) because I am tired to seeing so much corruption, and because I want to end the disorder that has taken over this country," Rosilene Feitosa, a 61-year-old woman, told the AFP news agency. The president appealed to the protesters to remain calm and criticized the opposition graffiti attack against her Worker's Party's student union offices in Sao Paulo. Rousseff is the latest leftist leader in Latin America to face mass protests as a decade-long economic boom in the continent comes to an abrupt end.

Anger against Brazilian President Rousseff is mounting as hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets across the country, demanding her resignation. A massive corruption scandal has shaken the government. Draped in yellow and green national flags, thousands of people chanted “Dilma out!” on Sunday in the latest wave of country-wide anti-government rallies. The South American leftist leader ... Read More »

Deadly police shooting sparks Egypt protests

A police officer has killed a young taxi driver "by mistake," according to Egypt's Interior Ministry. The incident comes amid increasingly frequent protests against police excesses, a key contributor to 2011's uprising. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside of Cairo's security directorate on Thursday night after a police officer dressed in civilian clothes shot and killed a 24-year-old taxi driver. "Hundreds marched from Cairo's security directorate to Ahmed Maher Hospital, where the corpse of a young Mohamed Ali - a victim of police - is [located]," Omar Elhady, an Egyptian journalist, wrote in a tweet accompanied by a video of the demonstration. Mohamed Ali, known as "Darbaka," was shot by the police officer "by mistake," according to the Egyptian Interior Ministry. "A low-ranking policeman was accompanying his relative to buy some goods and when both were uploading goods to a taxi, they had a fight with the taxi driver," said Cairo's security directorate, according to the state-owned al-Ahram news site. "The policeman pulled out his gun to end the fight but a bullet came out by mistake, killing the taxi driver," the Interior Ministry's statement added. 'Shot him in the head' Reports differ as to whether the officer was apprehended, with some local news sites suggesting he may have been killed by the neighborhood's residents who witnessed the altercation. "He took out his weapon and loaded it," a local resident told Egypt's independent news site Mada Masr. "We intervened to restrain him and tried to break up the fight, but he was able to break loose and immediately shot him in the head." Last week, thousands of doctors gathered in protest of police who beat two doctors for refusing to falsify medical records. The protests come as Italian officials announced that an autopsy of graduate student Giulio Regeni's body showed signs of torture, including electrocution. Activists said Regeni's injuries had the hallmarks of Egyptian security services. In January 2011, millions took to the streets of Cairo and other cities across Egypt to protest police excesses under former President Hosni Mubarak's regime, resulting in his ouster.

A police officer has killed a young taxi driver “by mistake,” according to Egypt’s Interior Ministry. The incident comes amid increasingly frequent protests against police excesses, a key contributor to 2011’s uprising. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside of Cairo’s security directorate on Thursday night after a police officer dressed in civilian clothes shot and killed a 24-year-old taxi driver. “Hundreds ... Read More »

Greek farmers threaten to escalate austerity protests

Protesting planned pension cuts, Greek farmers have blocked key roads and border crossings with their tractors for weeks. Now they're threatening to stage a blockade of the government district in downtown Athens. Traveling by road to Greece's Peloponnes peninsula can be trying these days. Farmers have blocked the bridge on the Corinth canal with tractors for the past 18 days, forcing drivers to detour on rarely used country roads. Only ambulances and pregnant women are granted passage; trucks piled high with goods must turn back or take the rural route. On Tuesday, tractors also closed off the four-lane highway at Tempi Valley, near Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city. The farmers plan to continue their protest until the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras deals with their demands, which include canceling planned pension cuts, abolishing a new tax on wine and tsipouro brandy, and granting tax-free diesel for farmers - as well as a 12,000-euro ($13,400) tax exemption per year. Roadblocks at various checkpoints along Greece's border with Bulgaria have made international headlines. Witnesses report that trucks were backed up for 25 kilometers (15 miles) on the Greek side on Friday. Bulgarian shipping companies reported losing millions of euros. In the early morning hours of Tuesday, several truck drivers from Bulgaria tried to break through the blockade from the Greek side of the border. "Five trucks barged through the crowds," a farmer told Greece's Skai TV broadcaster. "They broke through the toll gate and almost seriously injured our colleagues." Witnesses later said that four trucks had managed to break through the roadblock but police managed to deter the fifth driver. Powerful lobby Agriculture contributes 4.5 percent to Greece's gross domestic product - not a huge amount, but significantly more than the EU average of 2.9 percent. The Greek farmers' lobby is traditionally strong. Government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili repeatedly mentioned an alleged "destabilization plan" that includes conservative unionists - presumably a reference to the fact that farmers are seen as loyal supporters of Greece's New Democracy opposition party. The economic analyst Panagiotis Bousbourellis said the main reason for the farmers' uprising lay less in lobbying and more in the devastating consequences of the upcoming pension cuts. "In 2015, the farmers paid more than 400 million euros into the pension system - and from now on, they're expected to pay three times as much," Bousbourellis told DW. "That won't work, in particular because 600,000 people can't even pay their social security contributions anymore." Ever since capital transactions controls were introduced in June, the number of insurance payments made on time dropped by a third, Bousbourellis said. At the same time, the government is determined to raise social security contributions as far as possible in order to avoid cutting pensions. "It's a plan that doesn't add up," he warned. Undeterred, many farmers plan to continue their protest with a mass demonstration Friday in downtown Athens. It remains to be seen whether they will actually ride their tractors all the way to parliament. Government spokeswoman Gerovasili made it clear that tractors are not allowed in downtown Athens, adding that the police would react accordingly. Details of the operation aren't expected until the last minute: Greeks don't usually announce or apply for permission for public gatherings far in advance. The farmers' associations aren't unanimously convinced of the wisdom of converging on the capital. The northern farmers would prefer to continue their roadblocks at border crossings and tollbooths over the weekend, but farmers from the south and west of the country have opted to move on Athens. "I'm uneasy," the analyst Bousbourellis said. "I don't expect tractors to show up, but I'm worried about how the government and the police will react to an explosive protest."

Protesting planned pension cuts, Greek farmers have blocked key roads and border crossings with their tractors for weeks. Now they’re threatening to stage a blockade of the government district in downtown Athens. Traveling by road to Greece’s Peloponnes peninsula can be trying these days. Farmers have blocked the bridge on the Corinth canal with tractors for the past 18 days, ... Read More »

Tunisia PM urges patience amid crisis

Following a wave of increasingly volatile protests over the country's flagging economy, Tunisia's leader has asked for more time. Prime Minister Essid has promised democracy will prevail no matter what. Prime Minister Habib Essid begged for "patience" from the Tunisian people on Saturday after a string of sometimes violent protests against the rampant unemployment plaguing the country. Emerging from a crisis cabinet meeting, Essid promised his administration was taking the issue very seriously, but warned that changes could not be implemented overnight. Tunisia "is in danger despite the positive things which we have accomplished, particularly the transition toward democracy", said Essid, pleading with the public to "understand that there are difficulties." "Solutions exist but some patience and optimism are needed," he added. He declined to mention any concrete plans to tackle joblessness. Worst crisis since the revolution A week of intense protesting touched off in the city of Kasserine on January 16 when a young unemployed man, Ridha Yahyaoui, despairing of his situation climbed a utility pole near the governor's office and electrocuted himself. Across the country, 15 percent of citizens are out of work, the rate is even higher among university graduates at 32 percent. After clashes broke out between police and protestors, which resulted in the death of one policeman in the town of Feriana on Wednesday, the government imposed a nationwide curfew . On Saturday, Essid said the curfew would remain in place for security reasons until further notice. Originally the poster child for success stories arising out of the 2011 "Arab Spring," Tunisia - which was able to swiftly remove dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and transition to democracy - has struggled economically in the aftermath. High-profile terrorist attacks against tourists, whose visits to the country's Mediterranean resorts account for a good deal of the Tunisian economy, have worsened financial woes.

Following a wave of increasingly volatile protests over the country’s flagging economy, Tunisia’s leader has asked for more time. Prime Minister Essid has promised democracy will prevail no matter what. Prime Minister Habib Essid begged for “patience” from the Tunisian people on Saturday after a string of sometimes violent protests against the rampant unemployment plaguing the country. Emerging from a ... Read More »

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