Tag: protests

Portland protests: Man facing charges after damage to Oregon Historical Society

Malik Fard Muhamad was charged with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm, one count of possession of a loaded firearm in public, one count of criminal mischief in the first degree and one count of riot.

CNN has reached out to Muhamad and his family for a statement.

Activists called for people to march Sunday for an “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage,” the day before the federally recognized Columbus Day. Police declared the protest a riot after the group of about 300 people vandalized businesses and toppled statues of Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

Law enforcement identified Muhamad as part of a group of people wearing all black and vandalizing buildings, according to a news release from the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office. Muhamad ran from police as they attempted to arrest him, the release said.

During the arrest, police found a pistol behind barrels he was hiding behind that they matched with a loaded pistol magazine in Muhamad’s pocket, the release said.

Detectives say Muhamad has been living in Washington and has attended multiple protests over the past few months in which violence occurred, according to the release.

“It is sickening to me to see the destruction that occurred in Portland overnight,” said District Attorney Mike Schmidt.

A woman pulls a quilt from the display case inside the Oregon Historical Society during an Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage protest.

Conflict over racism and inequality

The damage done to the Oregon Historical Society is “inexcusable,” Schmidt said.

“They have put a spotlight on white supremacy, racism, civil rights and social inequality. They have elevated the voices and stories of marginalized and underserved communities in Oregon,” he said.

Schmidt said his office is committed to prosecuting crimes connected to protest violence.

Multiple arrests have already been made in connection to Sunday’s demonstrations, including a person armed with a loaded pistol who broke numerous windows, and the driver involved in pulling down the Roosevelt statue, according to Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell.

CNN has reached out to the apparent organizers in Portland for comment but has not yet received a response.

In addition to being pulled down, both Lincoln and Roosevelt’s statues had references to violence committed against indigenous people spray painted on them.

Roosevelt’s statue had “stolen lands” written on it. He has drawn criticism for his forced removal of indigenous persons, which he used to make his conservation efforts possible.

Photos show the statue of Lincoln with “Dakota 38,” a reference to the Dakota War of 1862, also known as the Sioux Uprising. Lincoln ordered the hanging of 38 Dakota natives in Mankato, Minnesota — the largest mass execution in the US.

Then-Minnesota Gov. Alexander Ramsey originally ordered more than 300 men sentenced to hanging but Lincoln reduced the number.

Lovell said protesters broke several windows of the Historical Society pavilion, tossing at least three lit flares inside. The flares extinguished themselves and did not do any serious damage.

Kerry Tymchuk, the historical society’s executive director, said an African American quilt made by 15 African American women ahead of the US bicentennial, “a priceless piece of history here,” was stolen

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Portland protests: Group takes down Lincoln, Roosevelt statues

A social media post announcing the event called for an end of colonialism and the abolishment of police.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Police declared a riot in downtown Portland on Sunday night after a large group of about 300 people marched through the South Park Blocks, toppling statues of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt and breaking windows.

The group also broke windows and threw flares into the Oregon Historical Society. Someone stole an Afro-American Heritage Bicentennial Commemorative Quilt, which was made by 15 local Black women ahead of the bicentennial and was on display inside the museum. Officers found the quilt blocks away, soaking wet with a small tear.

Members of the group also damaged multiple small businesses, including several restaurants, a jewelry store, a coffee shop and a bank. Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said shots were fired into Heroes American Café.

Portland police made three targeted arrests Sunday night and Lovell said more arrests may be forthcoming as police continue to investigate. Portland police released the following information about Sunday’s arrests.

  • Malik Muhamad, 23, of Portland: First-degree criminal mischief (6 counts); riot; unlawful possession of a firearm; possession of a loaded firearm in public
  • Justin Bowen, 25, of Portland: Fourth-degree assault (2 counts); unlawful use of pepper spray
  • Brandon Bartells, 38, of Washington: First-degree criminal mischief; reckless endangering

“We are five months into this and we still have a fairly high level of violence taking place,” he said. “We need to all come together and be mindful of what we want as a city and what we’re willing to tolerate.

“These events late at night, they purport to have a racial justice nexus. But they’re not that. They’re about violence and criminal destruction. They’re really hurting our community and we all deserve better.”

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler condemned the actions of the group on Monday morning during a press conference with Lovell.

“These acts are obscene,” Wheeler said. He said it was “deeply troubling” to see the group attack the Oregon Historical Society, which he said has “gone out of its way to reflect the truth of Oregon history and educate the public about all aspects of Oregon history, the good, the bad and the ugly.”

“It’s ironic that this was the institution that was chosen to be attacked by this anarchist behavior,” Wheeler said.

RELATED: ‘These acts are obscene’: Portland mayor condemns violence, destruction at late-night protests

Earlier Monday, Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone also spoke out against Sunday night’s violence and destruction.

“Public access to art is vital to our city’s cultural fabric,” she said in a statement. “I condemn all acts of violence and destruction, especially those targeting public

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Spain Hit By Anti-government Car Protests Called By Far-right

Hundreds of cars and motorbikes paraded Monday in Madrid and other Spanish cities in protests called by the far-right to demand Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and his government resign.

Anti-government protest in Malaga Anti-government protest in Malaga Photo: AFP / JORGE GUERRERO

Sporting red and yellow national flags and banners, people gathered on Spain’s national day at the call of far-right party Vox to protest the left-wing government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

In Madrid, hundreds of vehicles went down the large Castellana avenue where a military parade normally takes place on October 12, cancelled this year due to the pandemic.

Protesters called out by the far-right party Vox drive through Madrid to protest the state of emergency the government imposed to fight a resurgence in the coronavirus Protesters called out by the far-right party Vox drive through Madrid to protest the state of emergency the government imposed to fight a resurgence in the coronavirus Photo: AFPTV / Rebeca MAYORGA

Car protests also took place in Valencia in the east, and Seville and Malaga in the south, according to images on social media.

In Madrid’s central Colon square, many protesters also gathered on foot, all wearing masks, often accompanied by their relatives.

They are critical of the government’s handling of the pandemic in Spain, one of the worst hit European countries that is facing a major second wave of the deadly virus.

Anti-government protest in Malaga Anti-government protest in Malaga Photo: AFP / JORGE GUERRERO

A government decision to impose a state of emergency in Madrid to enforce a partial lockdown in the face of rising infections was a particular irritant.

“The government is abusing its power and imposing its decisions with a decree that is contrary to the Constitution,” Joaquin, 62, a civil servant who refused to give his surname, told AFP, echoing the thoughts of other protesters.

The state of emergency went into effect on Friday for 15 days.

It was imposed after a major row between the central government and the right-wing regional government of Madrid over divergent ideas as to how to contain the virus in the capital and surrounding areas.

Under the partial lockdown, people in Madrid and eight surrounding areas are not allowed to leave their towns but can go about freely within them.

Spain has reported some 850,000 cases and close to 33,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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Jakarta cleans up after violent anti-labor law protests

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Authorities in Indonesia’s capital on Saturday were cleaning up burned-out cars, government offices and bus shelters that were set ablaze by protesters enraged over a new law they say will cripple labor rights and harm the environment.

Protests in many Indonesian cities turned violent Thursday. At least 20 bus stops and other transit facilities were destroyed in Jakarta, causing 55 billion rupiah ($3.7 million) in damage, said Jakarta Gov. Anies Baswedan.

Calm has largely returned after the government warned protesters it won’t tolerate any further destruction and attacks on police and communities.

Labor organizers staged a three-day national strike Tuesday to demand the government revoke the legislation.

The Job Creation Law approved by Parliament on Monday is expected to substantially change Indonesia’s labor system and natural resources management. It amended 79 previous laws and was intended to improve bureaucratic efficiency as part of efforts by President Joko Widodo’s administration to attract more investment.

The demonstrators say the law will hurt workers by reducing severance pay, removing restrictions on manual labor by foreign workers, increasing the use of outsourcing, and converting monthly salaries to hourly wages.

Widodo told a televised news conference late Friday that the new law was meant to improve workers’ welfare.

“What I see is the widespread protest against the Job Creation Law is basically driven by disinformation about the law’s substance and social media hoaxes,” Widodo said.

He also dismissed reports that workers wouldn’t be paid during their leave.

“I assure you that this is untrue. Workers’ leave still remains and is guaranteed,” Widodo said.

Widodo urged those who are dissatisfied with the new law to challenge it at the Constitutional Court and avoid protests.

Jakarta Police spokesman Yusri Yunus said police have arrested 1,192 protesters, half of them high school students who came from outside the city.

“Most of them don’t understand the substance of the new law,” Yunus said, “They have been provoked by invitation on social media to create a riot in Jakarta.”

Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, is eagerly courting foreign investors as key drivers of economic growth in a nation where nearly half the population of 270 million are younger than 30.

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Social media impacts our elections, protests, and politics

Last April, states began to sporadically reopen after weeks of being shut down. Georgia was among the first to begin the process, while some states didn’t start lifting restrictions until June. The uncoordinated reopening caused chaos, according to Sinan Aral, director of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy.

Why? Because Georgia pulled in hundreds of thousands of visitors from neighboring states — folks hoping to get a haircut or go bowling.

Aral was tracking Americans on social media, and it became clear to him that having uncoordinated policies for the coronavirus doesn’t make sense. As people watched their social feeds fill with images of people heading back outside, they stepped out too — even if their state wasn’t at the same phase.

Aral, the author of “The Hype Machine: How Social Media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy, and Our Health — and How We Must Adapt,” has used social media as a tool to gain insight into everything from pandemic reopenings to protests and politics. And core to what he’s learned is that “social media is designed for our brains.”

Humans have an intrinsic need to seek out and process social signals, he says — something we’ve used to our advantage throughout history.

But the invention of social media? It’s “like throwing a lit match into a pool of gasoline,” he said.

We can’t look away, no matter the cost.

Three takeaways:

  • Social media is immensely powerful, Aral says. The “tremendous leverage” it has to “influence opinions and behaviors in the physical world” can be captured for good or bad. How do we hang on to the good and scrap the bad? Aral says creating more competition could go a long way.
  • There’s a strange dance between real people tweeting fake stuff and fake accounts amplifying those tweets. That was clear in 2014 when Russians used social media to reframe the annexation of Crimea as an “accession,” rather than a takeover, Aral says. This changed its perception on the ground and internationally, as diplomats struggled to decide whether or not to intervene.
  • The Russian social media strategy in 2020 is “much more sophisticated” than it was in 2016, Aral says — and the US intelligence community agrees. As platforms have cracked down on fake accounts, Russia has covertly encouraged US citizens to “start and spread false propaganda and manipulative content.” Plus, they’ve moved their servers to US soil, which makes them harder to find.

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Kyrgyz President Declares Martial Law in Capital Amid Protests

(Bloomberg) — Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov declared martial law in the capital, Bishkek, Friday in an attempt to curtail the political chaos that has rocked the country since disputed parliamentary elections.

A curfew from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. will be in place until the state of emergency ends on Oct. 21, according to an order from the presidential administration. The head of Kyrgyzstan’s Interior Ministry was appointed the city’s commandant.

The move was an attempt to reassert Jeenbekov’s authority after demonstrators protesting the results of Sunday’s election overran the parliament building and released a former president from jail. Parties close to Jeenbekov had dominated the disputed vote.

Street protests were continuing Friday, according to videos posted by local news website 24.kg.

Earlier Friday, Jeenbekov dissolved the government and fired the head of the military and the chairman of the security council in a series of executive orders.

In a separate statement, he said he was willing to resign as soon as the nation established legitimate executive power, and called for a new vote to stabilize the country.

Kyrgyzstan, a country of 6.5 million, is one of the pootest countries in central Asia, economically reliant on remittances from workers abroad, agriculture and minerals production. A close Russian ally, the country is a member of the Moscow-led Eurasian Union. Two of its presidents have been toppled by popular protests since 2005.

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Protests spread across Indonesia in opposition of omnibus jobs law

Oct. 8 (UPI) — Tens of thousands of people in Indonesia took part in the third day of protests against a sweeping law cutting protections for workers and the environment.

Riot police fired tear gas and water cannons at protesters in the nation’s capital, Jakarta, where authorities said they had detained more than 800 people as protesters defied a ban on gathering amid the COVID-19 pandemic and attempted to march on the presidential palace.

Protesters threw rocks at police and burned a police post and two transit stops, as leaders of a national strike said the violence was not affiliated with the labor action.

The protests were sparked by a 900-page omnibus bill amending more than 75 laws allowing companies to cut pay for workers, eliminate days off and hire contract workers.

It also relaxed environmental standards, only requiring businesses to file an environmental impact analysis for projects that are considered high risk.

The government said the law is designed to strengthen the economy amid negative impacts due to the pandemic by opening it to more foreign investment.

“We want to simplify the licensing and bureaucracy [process], we want speed, so a harmonization of law is needed to create speedy services, speedy policymaking so that Indonesia would be faster to respond to every world change,” President Joko Widodo told the BBC.

A coalition of 15 activist groups, including trade unions, have opposed the bill and called on workers to join a national strike.

“It is staggering that while Indonesia is, like other countries, facing the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic the government would seek to further destabilize people’s lives and ruin their livelihoods so that foreign companies can extract wealth from the country,” said Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation.

Organizers said protests have been held in more than 60 locations and that about 1 million people have participated in walkouts each day.

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Jakarta protests: Hundreds arrested at labor law demonstrations

At least 60 demonstrators and six police were injured at the demonstration near the Presidential Palace during the third day of a nationwide strike and demonstrations in the Southeast Asian nation, the news agency reported.

A protester throws a traffic cone onto a fire during Thursday in Jakarta.

Videos showed protesters shouting, throwing stones, breaking into buildings and setting fires near the national palace as police deployed water cannon and tear gas to disperse the crowds.

The Indonesian Red Cross said some protesters were suffering from a shortness of breath after police fired tear gas. They also fired water cannon to disperse the crowd.

Critics say the new legislation, locally known as the “omnibus law,” scraps some labor rights, indigenous community rights and environmental protections. They also complain the legislation was rushed through parliament without consultation with unions.

President Joko Widodo has touted the law as a tool to create new jobs, reform labor regulations, cut red tape and attract foreign investment.

Protests erupted in major cities across Indonesia after the law’s passage in the House of Representatives on Monday.

Protesters gather in Jakarta Thursday to demonstrate against the law.

Jakarta Metropolitan Police spokesman Yusri Yunus told Antara that police officers were injured after a group of people joined the demonstrations, and started rioting and vandalizing public facilities.

Yunus confirmed the 400 arrests and referred to the demonstrators as “an anarchic group.”

Jakarta police have deployed over 9,000 personnel as a precautionary measure against protests, Yunus told Antara.

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Protests Spread Across Indonesia Over Jobs Law

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Riot police officers fired tear gas and water cannons in Indonesia’s capital on Thursday as they tried to disperse large crowds of people protesting a sweeping new law that slashes protections for workers and the environment.

In cities and towns throughout Indonesia’s vast archipelago, tens of thousands of workers took part in the third day of a national strike against the deregulation law. Workers marched on foot and rode in motorbike parades as sound trucks blared protest messages. Union leaders denounced Parliament and President Joko Widodo for pushing the measure through.

In the center of Jakarta, the capital, protesters assembled in defiance of a city ban on gathering during the pandemic and tried to march to the presidential palace. Some threw rocks at the police and set fires in the city center, burning a police post and two transit stops. The police said officers had detained more than 800 people in Jakarta, while leaders of the national strike distanced themselves from the violence and said that the city’s protests were not affiliated with the labor action.

Around the country, the strike has been largely peaceful, although protesters clashed with the police in some cities. Organizers said protests were held in more than 60 locations, stretching from Aceh Province in the west to Papua Province more than 3,000 miles east. They estimated that about one million people joined the walkouts each day, though that figure could not be verified.

Opponents of the new statute, a 905-page omnibus measure that amends more than 75 laws, say that it benefits the wealthy elite by allowing companies to cut workers’ pay, eliminate days off and hire contract workers in place of permanent employees. It will affect women most of all, they say, by allowing companies to eliminate paid maternity and menstrual leave.

“The president is paying back the financiers who helped him win the election, not ordinary people who voted for him,” said Ermawati, 37, a leader of a factory strike in East Java who like many Indonesians uses one name. “They are killing us with the omnibus law.”

Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous country, has the largest economy in Southeast Asia but has found itself at a disadvantage when competing with some of its neighbors for foreign investment, particularly Vietnam, a centralized Communist state that can move swiftly to offer investors land and incentives.

Indonesia, which has been a democratic country since the fall of the Suharto dictatorship more than two decades ago, every five years holds the world’s largest direct presidential elections. But its decentralized government is notoriously bureaucratic and difficult to navigate.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the country harder than any other in the region, infecting more than 320,000 people and throwing an estimated six million out of work, adding to the seven million already unemployed. The government expects the economy to contract this year for the first time since the Suharto era.

Bahlil Lahadalia, the head of the government’s Investment Coordinating Board, said the new law

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Protests against new labor law turn violent across Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Protests in many Indonesian cities turned violent Thursday as thousands of enraged students and workers criticized a new law they say will cripple labor rights and harm the environment.

Clashes between rock-throwing demonstrators and riot police broke out near Jakarta’s presidential palace as police tried to disperse the protesters, including workers and high school and university students.

President Joko Widodo is visiting Central Kalimantan province and was not in the palace.

Police fired tear gas at the protesters from several high schools and universities as they tried to approach the palace compound, turning roads into a smoke-filled battleground. The protesters fought back, hurling rocks and bottles.

An angry mob burned a traffic police post at an intersection near the palace, while other protesters set fires to tires and fiberglass road barriers. As night fell, some protesters set fire to a subway shelter in downtown Jakarta, causing the area to turn an eerie orange color.

Similar clashes occurred in large cities all over the country, including Yogyakarta, Medan, Makassar, Manado and Bandung, the capital of West Java province, where police arrested 209 people during two days of violent protests.

Organizers have called for a three-day national strike starting Tuesday demanding that the government revoke the legislation.

The Job Creation Law approved by Parliament on Monday is expected to substantially change Indonesia’s labor system and natural resources management. It amended 79 previous laws and was intended to improve bureaucratic efficiency as part of efforts by Widodo’s administration to attract more investment to the country.

The demonstrators say the law will hurt workers by reducing severance pay, removing restrictions on manual labor by foreign workers, increasing the use of outsourcing, and converting monthly salaries to hourly wages.

“We vow to continue returning to the streets until the new law is revoked,” said Andi Khiyarullah, a protest organizer from the Indonesia Alliance’s student executive body.

Police in Jakarta also blocked streets leading to Parliament, preventing labor groups from holding a mass rally there, and detained at least 200 high school students who attempted to reach the compound, Jakarta police spokesman Yusri Yunus said.

“They have been provoked by invitations on social media to create a riot in Jakarta,” Yunus said.

Fears grew of a surge in coronavirus cases from the protests, which are being held as infection rates are rising in many areas. Indonesia’s confirmed deaths rose Thursday to 11,580, the highest number in Southeast Asia.

National COVID-19 task force spokesperson Wiku Adisasmito expressed concern about “potential spreaders” in the crowds of protesters across the country, especially in Jakarta, the center of Indonesia’s outbreak.

“We remind you that we are still in a pandemic condition, there is a public health emergency,” he said as images showed demonstrators in close proximity, many without masks and ignoring social distancing.

The government reported Thursday that the total number of confirmed cases nationwide has risen to 320,564, including 11,580 deaths. Cases in Jakarta alone stood at 83,372 with 1,834 deaths.

Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest

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