Clashes with police in Paris during rally against Macron’s public-sector reforms

Police have clashed with protesters in Paris during a demonstration against Emmanuel Macron’s public-sector reforms. The rioters were seen throwing stones at police and igniting firecrackers.

The protesters were marching near Place de la Bastille and Place de la Nation, the usual spots for all sorts of rallies in the capital. Once some of the demonstrators started pelting law enforcement with stones, officers in riot gear moved in, resulting in clashes. The stand-off continued after some of the demonstrators fled to the narrow streets.

A young male with his face covered in blood was later seen in the Ruptly live transmission. It is, however, not clear whether he was a protestor or not.

@RT_com Clashes with cops in Paris get violent - WATCH LIVE:

Train workers, civil servants, airline pilots, lawyers, teachers and doctors joined the protests across the French capital. “If we do nothing, the government will not back down,” Philippe Martinez, the leader of the CGT, one of the largest civil servant unions, said ahead of the protests.

The protest is the latest test for the 40-year-old centrist president, who has recently been pushing his new reforms for the public sector and state railways. The date, March 22, has been specifically chosen by demonstrators in reference to massive strikes that brought the French economy to a virtual halt in 1968.

Macron’s first year in office is facing harsh reviews from many corners. According to a survey by the Ipsos polling group published on Wednesday, his approval rating stands at 37 percent. At least 55 percent have a negative view of his presidency.



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‘No Trump!’ Hundreds march in Switzerland against US leader’s Davos visit (PHOTO)

Hundreds of people flocked to the streets in Switzerland to protest the visit of US President Donald Trump to the Alpine town of Davos, where he is set to deliver a speech at the World Economic Forum.

Anti-globalist and anti-capitalist rallies erupted in the cities of Geneva, Lausanne, and Fribourg as the mountain resort town of Davos hosts the 2018 World Economic Forum (WEF).

Police estimated that there were approximately 2,000 demonstrators in Zurich on Tuesday, according to Reuters. People held banners that read ‘Smash WEF!’ and ‘Trump at WEF. Sad!’ and ‘No Trump, no coal, no gas, no fossil fuels.’

At least one protester was seen carrying a placard reading “Who was the sh*thole?” in reference to Trump’s remarks about Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations, which the president strongly denied making.

@VernonDavis Last night, around 2000 demonstrators in Zurich marched in protest at Donald Trump’s visit to the World Economic Forum. @guardian

Despite tight security in Davos, around 20 people broke through security fencing and reached the Davos Congress Centre, holding banners and shouting “Wipe out WEF.”

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Over 40,000 Catalans Protest Detentions, Demand Independence

Adria Alsina, an organizer of the demonstrations, said protesters intend to keep up the pressure until all prisoners are released.

Over 40,000 Catalans have heeded the call by civilian groups to protest the arrest of 14 activists, including high-ranking regional officials. They are gathered in front of a regional court to show their disapproval of the detainments and reiterate their quest for independence from Spain.

RELATED: Spanish Govt. Raids Catalan Ministries, Arrests 12 Officials

The detainments were authorized by Madrid in an effort to deter the Oct. 1 referendum vote to determine if the autonomous province of Catalonia will separate from Spain and become its own sovereign nation.

Adria Alsina, a leader of the demonstrations, said protesters intend to keep up the pressure until all prisoners are released.

Although no major incidents are being reported, three Spanish Civil Guard vehicles, the same kind that carried out several of the arrests of sovereignty activists, have been damaged amid demonstrations.

Altercations broke out in Barcelona and other Catalan cities on the eve of the arrests.

In related developments, Catalonia has invested some US$21 million to beef up its regional tax agency, according to Reuters. This is part and parcel of the autonomous region's bid for independence.

“In a future transition, it would not be acceptable for them (Madrid) to keep our taxes, because they are ours and they keep a lot," Catalan Treasury Secretary Josep Lluis Salvado said.

The tax agency increase, which includes an expansion of personnel by 75 percent, signals one of Catalonia's most palpable institutional investments for a people on the brink of attaining their independence.

Carlos Puigdemont, Catalonia's pro-independence president, has said the autonomous region's independence referendum is a moment for his compatriots to “express our will as a people, remembering the past, where we come from, but also to project ourselves into the future.”

RELATED: Barcelona Hosts Mass Rally for Catalan Independence

He added that the push to become a sovereign nation is “a future that we have in our hands and that we will democratically decide really soon."

Catalonia’s regional government has vowed to declare independence from Spain within 48 hours if the “yes” vote wins.

Countering Catalonia's bold step is Spain's conservative government headed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who insists that actions taken by the autonomous community are in direct violation of the nation's constitution. He has vowed that “there will not be a referendum.”

Located in the northeast of the country, Catalonia is recognized as one of Spain's most prosperous regions, not only economically but culturally. Residents have also been able to maintain their national language, Catalan. Apart from these aspects, which have historically fed into the independence movement, residents of Barcelona say they pay exorbitant taxes to Madrid and don't receive their worth back in services.

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Venezuela: Opposition Protesters Burn Motorcyclist Alive at Barricade

More than 80 people have been killed or seriously injured since opposition protests started in April.

One man was killed and another left with severe burns after opposition protesters attacked a truck driver with molotov cocktails in Zulia State, Venezuela on Wednesday.

RELATED: Ignoring Opposition Attack, US Calls for ‘Pressure’ on Maduro

The national director of Civil Protection, Jorge Galindo, reported Thursday that one death and two bystanders were seriously injured as a result of a protest in Maracaibo.

According to a victim of the attack, the truck attempted to avoid being attacked at the barricade and collided into a motorcycle behind the vehicle, trapping the motorcyclist under the truck before protesters threw the petrol bombs.

"We came across the barricade .. and those who had blocked the way began throwing stones at us to loot the truck and when we went in reverse, we hit the motorcycle," said Jose Bravo, who was in the passenger seat of the truck.

“(The motorcyclist) lay injured on the road and then they threw Molotov bombs at us and set the truck on fire. The boy burned to death and my colleague and I were rescued," Bravo continued.

Bravo, 33, suffered third-degree burns to 95 percent of his body, was sent to the Coromoto Hospital’s Burn Unit to receive treatment.

The motorcyclist was identified as 20 years old Luigin Paz.

The roadblocks closing down a main road near the city’s bridge were organized by anti-government groups answering a nationwide protest call by opposition leaders from the MUD coalition.

MARACAIBO: Resultó con 95 % de QUEMADURAS en su cuerpo el cddno José Bravo (33) quien trató de esquivar una barricada y le arrojaron molotov.

Through its official Twitter account the Attorney General's office indicated that investigation had been called.

The opposition MUD coalition had called for a "national shutdown" Wednesday, with small numbers across most of the country cutting off access to roads for four hours as a protest against the National Constituent Assembly called by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Many of protests which have transpired since April have spiralled out of control, leaving more than 80 deaths in its wake. On several occasions President Maduro has called for the cessation of violence and dialogue as a way to resolve the conflict, however, MUD has rejected this possibility and has maintained its calls for street protests.

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Dilma Rouseff Petitions Supreme Court to Review her Case

The former president who was ousted in a parliamentary coup believes she should be reinstated.

As Brazil continues to descend into turmoil as a result of growing calls for the impeachment of President Michel Temer, former President Dilma Rouseff is calling on the Supreme Court to dismiss her impeachment, which has been widely condemned as a farce and parliamentary coup, and reinstate her.

RELATED: Brazil's Temer Govt Revokes Army Deployment Decree Amid Outrage

“The country is currently experiencing an acute political and institutional crisis on a scale as large as it has ever been seen,” said Rouseff.

The latest protests against the Temer administration, installed last year after the removal of Roussef, come on the heels of the most severe scandal to hit the government yet after a wiretap recording revealed Temer had endorsed bribes to keep quiet a powerful witness in corruption investigations.

Temer faces investigations for corruption and obstruction of justice after the damning wiretap.

The president has vowed that he will not step down over the scandal, saying in an interview with Folha de Sao Paulo, "I won't resign, oust me if you want."

Rousseff was charged with spending money without congressional approval and using an accounting sleight of hand to make the government's budget appear better than it was ahead of her 2014 reelection — a technique used by many previous presidents that critics of the process have argued is not an impeachable offense as defined in the constitution.

Defense lawyers initially appealed Rouseff’s impeachment to Supreme Court administrator, Teori Zavascki, who passed away January, 2017. Since then, her petition has been transferred to Alexandre de Moraes, former ex Minister of Justice, while they continue to await a ruling.

"Every day there is more evidence that the current president of the Republic, not chosen by anyone, is not fit for the mandate," said Rouseff of her former vice president.

So far, 12 requests have been made for Temer’s impeachment. According to HispanTV, the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) concluded Thursday there is enough evidence riding against Temer to proceed with the impeachment process.

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Beef with Temer: ‘Brazilian President's supporters jumping ship, his days are numbered’

The owner of one of the biggest beef exporting businesses in the world is testifying against Brazil's President Michel Temer, and this shows the scale of public dissatisfaction, Latin America expert James Petras, from Binghamton University, told RT.

The Brazilian capital has been in the grip of violent unrest with police deploying tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray against protesters.

The reason behind these mass demonstrations is the policy of current President Michel Temer, who came into power last summer as a result of the impeachment of elected President Dilma Rousseff.

One of his main promises was to fight corruption and improve Brazil's struggling economy. However, the economy continues to worsen while corruption is out of control.

Public discontent exploded last week when Temer found himself at the center of a bribery scandal.

RT:  Many in Brazil are demanding President Temer's impeachment. How likely is that to happen?

James Petras: I think it is very likely. It is a question of time, whether it is weeks or a few months, Temer is on his way out. He has taken power illegally by the opinion of most people. His seizure of power with the impeachment of the previous president. He is engaged in a large-scale privatization program, which alienates nationalists. Unemployment has doubled in the last four months. He has been involved deeply in corruption scandals involving his cabinet ministers, his closest supporters in Congress. I think the combination of corruption, social and economic problems with the labor force, employment situation and finally the fact that he is not an elected president, the fact that he was able to manipulate Congress to secure the impeachment. I think all these factors together, and his stubbornness in owning up to the corruption has finally turned the tide. I don’t think he has more than 10 percent of the electorate at this time.

@RT_com BREAKING: Police uses tear gas, stun grenades in clashes with protesters in Brazil (WATCH LIVE)

RT:  Last week a tape was released discussing payments to silence testimony by a potential witness in the country's biggest-ever corruption probe. Was that the last straw for those calling for Temer's ouster?

JP: The corruption investigation is proceeding. I think we have to take into account that the principal witness taped the interviews with Temer, and the person engaged as one of the biggest capitalists owning one of the biggest beef exporting businesses in the world. The fact that he is testifying against Temer on the basis of his own personal experience weighs heavily. The fact that many of Temer’s strongest supporters are jumping ship, that he doesn’t have a supporting party outside of his narrow circles. I think that is the end of the trail. I think Temer is holding on because he has the backing of international financial groups; he has the backing of many of the elites that have been involved in the stock market, but nobody else. I think that is not enough to stay in power. The sooner he realizes the quicker we will turn to what will replace Temer, and that is a struggle between the Congress, where the conservative forces exercise a majority, or whether they will open to a new election, in which case the center-left, the Workers' Party may have a strong chance of reelecting a new president.

Dr. Francisco Dominguez, Head of Latin American Studies at Middlesex University

RT:  Many in Brazil are demanding President Temer's impeachment. How likely is that to happen?

Francisco Dominguez: The government is imploding, and the level of corruption is just unbelievable. The people are very angry. They were taken away their right to vote for the president that they elected due to the coup - or the ‘impeachment’ as they call it over there. Now the people, who were supposed to be fighting Dilma Rousseff because of corruption, are absolutely corrupt themselves. The level of corruption is really reaching incredible levels. People around him, everybody, including Aecio Neves, the Presidential candidate, who disputed the presidency as a candidate with Dilma Rousseff is also centrally involved. People are being imprisoned, people are being arrested, and the amount of money that is being mentioned in the media is very partial in many respects… The government is unlikely to survive, regardless of whether there is violence or not. The mass protest is going to be so powerful from now on, and the people will not settle for anything else, but direct elections.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Argentines protest Supreme Court ruling on Dirty War sentences

Tens of thousands of Argentines protested on Wednesday against a Supreme Court ruling that could decrease jail time for those convicted of human rights abuses during the country’s 1976 – 1983 military dictatorship that killed as many as 30,000 people.

The ruling was widely criticized, including by President Mauricio Macri, and Congress passed a law earlier on Wednesday to block future reductions of sentences for killings, torture, kidnappings and other human rights violations during the so-called Dirty War. “Judges: Never again. No free genocidists,” read banners in the Plaza de Mayo of Buenos Aires.

The Supreme Court’s May 3 decision ruled in favor of Luis Muiña, who was sentenced in 2011 to 13 years in jail for kidnapping and torturing five people during the dictatorship. The court said a law known locally as “two for one” that allows every day spent in jail before a final sentence to count for two days when more than two years have been served, could apply for human rights cases.

“I would like to congratulate the Congress for the speed at which it resolved the legal vacuum left by this unfortunate 2-for-1 law,” Macri said in a press conference earlier on Wednesday. “I am against any tool that is in favor of impunity, more so when this tool is applied to crimes against humanity.”

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Tear gas, over 200 arrests at May Day clashes in Istanbul (PHOTOS)

May Day rallies in Tukey’s most populous city descended into clashes with the police, as several activist groups tried to get into cordoned-off areas of the city. Over 200 people have been detained, and at least one man was reportedly killed.

Labor Day celebrations in Istanbul turned violent as multiple groups of demonstrators attempted to march towards central Taksim Square, despite police cordons and warnings.

“Some illegal groups who want to damage the peace and safety of our people attempted illegal marches and demonstrations, primarily around Taksim Square... under the pretext of May Day celebrations,” the governor’s office said, as cited by Reuters. “A total of 207 people have been detained, and some 40 Molotov cocktails, 17 hand grenades, 176 fireworks ... and lots of illegal posters have been seized.”

The clashes erupted at multiple locations throughout the city, as members of left-wing and anarchist parties, as well as trade unions, attempted to march towards Taksim Square.

A group of protesters was dispersed in the Mecidiyekoy neighborhood, when police used tear gas and rubber bullets as activists tried to march towards Taksim Square.

A 57-year old man was run over and killed by a police water cannon truck, CNN Turk reports. The governor's office said he was hit as the vehicle was maneuvering, as cited by Reuters.

@fgeffardAFP Protesters attempt to defy a ban and march on Taksim Square to celebrate May Day in Istanbul. @yasinnakgul

alanı 'dir. Yaşasın Taksim Mücadelemiz

After the botched July 2016 coup attempt, Turkey’s authorities tightened their grip on security by imposing a state of emergency that has been extended a number of times since. Consequently, Taksim Square was entirely cordoned off well beforehand on Sunday, and numerous riot and plain clothes police officers had been deployed to the area.

Nevertheless, two female activists shouting communist slogans and brandishing a banner managed to slip into the well-guarded area. The two were overwhelmed by police and placed in a cruiser after a brief yet violent struggle.


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