Things up in Protests
Over the weekend, protests across the country took a violent turn.
Since May, protesters across several US cities have taken to the streets calling for an end to systemic racism and police brutality. Recently, things have gotten especially heated in Portland, OR. Federal agents arrived there earlier this month as some protesters hit officers and set fire to a police union building. Since then, the feds have used tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters – pulling some into unmarked vans. This past weekend, police declared a riot after demonstrators tore down a section of a fence outside of the federal courthouse.
What does that mean?
Declaring a riot allows officers to make arrests, issue citations, or use things like tear gas and "impact weapons." And Portland wasn't the only city where this happened. In Seattle, WA, police also declared a riot and arrested dozens of people for assaulting officers, among other offenses. In Austin, TX, an armed protester was shot and killed by a motorist who had driven toward a crowd of demonstrators. In Oakland, CA, a courthouse was set on fire. In Aurora, CO, someone drove a car into a crowd of protesters and a protester fired a weapon, sending at least one person to the hospital. In Richmond, VA, police used chemical agents to disperse crowds. Similar scenes played out across the country.
It's been two months since George Floyd's death reignited anger over police brutality and systemic racism. Since then, there have been mixed efforts to address these issues. With tensions rising across the US, the Trump admin has doubled down on its threats to dispatch more federal agents – whose tactics have some thinking a constitutional crisis may be underway.
Anti-government protests have erupted in Russia's Far East.
Earlier this month, officers arrested Sergei Furgal – the governor of the Khabarovsk region near Russia's border with China. Authorities are accusing Furgal of being involved in multiple murders of businessmen back in the early 2000s. But protesters see the charges as illegitimate – and Furgal as a popular local figure who had defeated a Kremlin-backed opponent in 2018. Cue: The third-straight weekend of protests. Tens of thousands of people have been rallying in support of the ousted governor, calling for him to be freed – or face trial in Khabarovsk, not Moscow.
How's the gov responding?
By replacing Furgal with a Kremlin-backed governor...who isn't even from the region. But despite the large number of protesters, authorities seem to be waiting for things to fizzle out. An unusual move for the Kremlin, whose authorities are quick to crack down on anti-gov demonstrations.
Putin has enjoyed a 60% approval rating and just this month won a referendum that could let him stay in power until 2036. But some say the vote was fraudulent. And that unrest in the Far East – the likes of which have apparently not been seen since the '90s – are signs of broader discontent.
Who people are remembering…
Regis Philbin. Last week, the longtime TV host died at the age of 88 of natural causes. Philbin is best known for hosting shows like "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire" and "Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee" (and later Kelly). He started out as a news broadcaster before becoming a national TV personality, but he was also an author, an actor, and a singer. Philbin held the Guinness World Record for having the most hours on TV (over 17,000). Friends and colleagues paid tribute to him on social media and his family said they'd miss his warmth and "legendary sense of humor." RIP.
Olivia de Havilland. Over the weekend, the iconic actress and two-time Oscar winner died at 104 of natural causes. De Havilland is best known for her role as Melanie Hamilton in the controversial film "Gone With the Wind." She starred in dozens of films on the big and small screen, including "To Each His Own" and "The Heiress." And was an advocate for workers' rights and creative freedom in Hollywood. In 1943, she sued Warner Bros to end restrictive long-term contracts and won, which shifted the power away from big studios. Her former lawyer called her an "international treasure." RIP.
What people want updates on...
This bill. Today, Republican lawmakers are expected to unveil a $1 trillion proposal for another coronavirus relief bill. Their package is expected to include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks, an extension of the eviction moratorium, and added unemployment benefits that would replace up to 70% of a person's lost wages. The planned announcement comes as cases soar in California, making it the country's latest COVID-19 hotspot.
...Oh and speaking of COVID-19, North Korea declared a state of emergency over its first reported case.
Florida. An org founded by NBA superstar LeBron James and other Black athletes is donating $100,000 to help pay felons' court debts there. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled against overturning a law that requires felons to pay their court fines and fees (some which can be tens of thousands of dollars) before registering to vote. Civil rights groups sued, arguing the law was basically a "poll tax" and amounted to voter suppression. Now, Black athletes and entertainers are stepping in to help.
While some get over heartbreak by singing and holding a giant stuffed bear…
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