Burnt tires & clashes with police as pro-independence protests grip Catalonia (PHOTO, VIDEO)

Pro-independence activists in Catalonia are venting their anger at Madrid’s trial of the region’s provincial leaders. Baton-wielding police scuffled with some of the demonstrators as people also blocked roads and set tires ablaze.

The group behind the protest is called the Committees for the Defence of the Republic (CDRs) and has been involved in demonstrations against Spain’s central government for months. The goal of Thursday’s action is to ‘paralyze everything,’ as the group put it.

One of the columns in front of the Barcelona’s University. The strike against the trial is a Huge Success all over Catalonia

The protesters managed to disrupt traffic on several major roads with barricades of burning tires. They also interfered with the work of local railroads and occupied an office building in Girona, a city some 100km (62 miles) northeast of Barcelona.

Catalonia’s president Torra said to his supporters: “Push!”, and calls them to strike today Watch them acting accordingly Peaceful people indeed

Blockade of burning tires: Pro-independence Catalonian activists disrupt...

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French police talk about shooting Yellow Vest protesters in a leaked tape

Police in the city of Toulouse came under fire after several officers were caught on tape discussing plans to “shoot” the protesters involved in clashes.

The comments were made in the police command room, as broadcaster France 3 reported, where the officers were watching an intense standoff between police and the demonstrators unfolding on the streets of Toulouse.

While the officers aren’t seen in the video, the voices are heard saying “What a bunch of bastards!” and “The f***ers!”, when the clashes turned violent.

Then a female officer is heard saying, “But you have to shoot!” and the other male officer replying, “When I tell you to, line up two or three rounds.”

contre toute attente, plus de 10000 personnes dans les rues de Toulouse. Place du capitole , des collègues épuisés essuient les charges des manifestants. Surpris, émus et estomaqués, des policiers de la salle de commandement appellent à « tirer des bastos ». 1/2

The video was recorded during the Yellow Vests protest on January 12, but was only released recently when the French police labor union Vigi posted it on Twitter. The union distanced themselves from the comments in the footage saying “the words of the policemen have exceeded their thoughts”.

Twitter users have also slammed police officers for their words.

Meanwhile, the Haute-Garonne prefecture released a statement where they called the protests unfolding on the police screens a “scene of rare violence,” which provoked the police officers’ “spontaneous comments.” It has opened an investigation into the “illegal capture of images and sound” in the Police Command and Information Center.

Also on rt.com Police employ tear gas & water cannons as Yellow Vest protests enter 9th week (VIDEOS)...

The leaked video comes in the wake of criticism of the French police’s tactics during the Yellow Vests protests, which have been rocking French cities since November. The police used water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets against the protesters, resulting in some serious injuries.

One of the leaders of the Yellow Vests movement, Jerome Rodrigues, was left blind in one eye after being hit by a rubber-ball projectile. Officials estimate around 2000 protesters have been injured since protests began on November 17.

 

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France's crackdown on protesters: 'Govt has nothing to offer except blood, sweat & tears'

In democracy, you can't ban people from expressing their opinions and anger during a demonstration, publisher and writer Aymeric Monville told RT, commenting on the French government's plan to crack down on unsanctioned protests.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Monday that tougher punishments will be introduced for rioters with 80,000 members of the security forces to be deployed next weekend. The government plans to draft new legislation that will ban troublemakers from marches and clamp down on the wearing of masks at demonstrations.

Publisher and writer Aymeric Monville told RT that the spirit of this new law is "to treat the demonstrators like they were hooligans."

Read more French PM says new, tougher laws on unauthorized protests coming in wake of Yellow Vest clashes
 
French PM says new, tougher laws on unauthorized protests coming in wake of Yellow Vest clashes

"In France you can prevent hooligans from going to the football match; it will be the same with the demonstrators. The problem in the democracy – you can't ban people from expressing their opinion and anger during a demonstration; it is completely silly," he said.

While the announced government measures against violence in the protest movement received mixed reactions, President Emmanuel Macron's plan for a nationwide public debate also received a lot of attention. 

On Tuesday, the official appointed by the government to lead a national debate quit following a controversy over her salary. It was revealed that the former sports minister, Chantal Jouanno, was paid over €14,000 per month to head France's National Commission for Public Debate.

That is while many protesters "can't feed their children," Monville noted.

"It is so blatant, it is like at the time of the absolute monarchy – Marie-Antoinette [allegedly] said if people don't have bread, let them eat cake – if they don't have bread, let them debate," he said.

"The government doesn't have anything to offer except blood, sweat and tears."

Monville said that philosopher Luc Ferry, who was close to government circles, suggested the police should be allowed to use guns on protesters. "But people are not cattle; as human beings they can respond… You can slip into a civil war. It is a very risky situation, because the government doesn't have any answer," Monville argued.

Commenting on the violence during the recent Yellow Vests protests, Monville said it is necessary to distinguish between two kinds of protesters.

"You have the violence on the streets, you have burnt cars – they have nothing to do with the real movement. The Yellow Vests' pressure is to block the roundabouts, all refineries… to block the economy. And that is what annoys the government and big businesses in France."

That is the violence they cannot stand and will impose state violence against it, he said.

Also on rt.com Fall of Empires: London, Washington & Paris on brink of collapse (by George Galloway)....

Yellow Vests split

RT also discussed the latest demonstrations and the PM's announcement with Dr. Paul Smith, associate professor in French and Francophone Studies at the University of Nottingham, who believes that there is a split within the Yellow Vests movement.

"This weekend might have been a tipping point… there is clearly within the Yellow Vest movement a split between the very hard liners, the men and women of violence,  and those who want this to be a peaceful demonstration," he said.  

He noted that on Sunday there was a big demonstration by women in yellow vests insisting on the peaceful aspect of the Gilets Jaunes movement. He also pointed out that the moderates within the movement are talking about founding their own political party to press their issues and ideas in a peaceful way.

Read more The Emerging: Yellow Vest ex-rep seeks to create political party of ‘common sense’
 
The Emerging: Yellow Vest ex-rep seeks to create political party of ‘common sense’

"Whereas there is still this hardcore and someone might not even be authentic Gilet Jaunes, quite a lot of anarchist troublemakers are involved in and, not to say, extreme alt-right elements involved as well," he added.  

Commenting on the French PM's statement on security measures, Smith said that "the prime minster [is] saying we are not going to be pushed around, the rule of law will continue."  

According to Smith, some of the crowds are "legitimate Gilet Jaunes" while there also are "professional protesters, black blocs, the anarchist movement."

"On the alt-right there are even some who are kind of a leftover of protests against other legislation from the previous presidency. This is kind of an amalgamation of the anti-everybody league. Plus legitimate Gilets Jaunes who are involved as well. And it is very much of an amalgam of all of those elements. The volume aspect is certainly on the decrease," he told RT.

In his opinion, the government is saying that the law is the law.

"Last week we saw one of the ring leaders was arrested for getting involved deliberately – by his own admission – in an unauthorized demonstration, and you and I know how much the French love to demonstrate," he said.

He said that France has clear laws about when and where you can demonstrate, and declaring where you demonstrate. He believes the government is saying "you can do these things, but you have to respect the law."

"The other thing that is happening in the background is that now they have just opened or about to open this process of public consultation that is linked to the whole movement. So, there are two things happening – the government is saying the dialogue is now open and that is a peaceful thing and that happens through the 36,000 town halls across France. And that will be their way – their means of separating the 'legitimate' Gilets Jaunes movement and those who want to continue down the path of violence."

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Argentine Gov’t ‘Pressuring’ Labor Judges Who Protect Workers

Argentine authorities are seeking the dismissal of two justices who ruled against layoffs, which are an integral part of IMF-backed austerity policies.

Authorities of Argentina’s news agency, Telam, are demanding the dismissal of two labor judges who ruled against massive layoffs that would have affected 357 workers. The legal complaint was filed at the National Council of Magistrates, the body in charge of appointing, suspending, and deposing judges.

RELATED: Argentina: Court Rules Against Police's Use of Lethal Force Against Civilians

Back in August, Enrique Arias and Miguel Rodriguez ratified a first-instance ruling that ordered Telam to reinstate five workers, the first to legally contest their layoffs. Telam authorities successfully requested the recusation of the two judges earlier this year. However, their ruling was ratified by another court.

Now, government authorities are requesting their removal.

Mariano Suarez, Telam workers’ lawyer and the lawyer for the Buenos Aires Press Union (Sipreba), warned that the legal action against Arias and Rodriguez seeks to pressure them to avoid a favorable ruling for 150 workers whose cases are pending.

“There are five rulings that have been confirmed in all levels of the judiciary … but there are still another 150 suits that only have a first-instance ruling. That means that these same judges will have to rule on them … This is pressure on these future rulings,” Suarez told Pagina 12.

This is not the first time judge Arias faces threats by the government of Mauricio Macri. In February, the then ministry of labor requested impeachment proceedings against Arias after the judge ruled against the government for “interfering” in labor negotiations in the banking sector.

According to labor lawyers, there is a government offensive against all fronts that uphold labor rights. Lawyers of the most relevant Argentine unions, including the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), have created a forum to warn against this offensive and respond to it.

Government persecution has “the only goal of smearing and disciplining the actors who have the mission of guaranteeing union autonomy, neutralize their actions, and dismantle the nation’s labor justice,” the forum contended Friday.

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Trump administration plans crackdown on protests outside White House

The administration has suggested it could charge ‘event management’ costs for protests and close 80% of the sidewalks

Donald Trump has frequently and falsely crowed about the idea of so-called paid protesters, including most recently the sexual assault survivors who confronted senators in the lead up to the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation. Now his administration may be trying to turn that concept on its head, by requiring citizens to pay to be able to protest, among other affronts to the first amendment.

Under the proposal introduced by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in August, the administration is looking to close 80% of the sidewalks surrounding the White House, and has suggested that it could charge “event management” costs, for demonstrations.

Currently the National Park Service is able to recoup costs for special events, but not spontaneous protests like the ones that typically take place in Lafayette Park across from the White House. These charges could include the cost of erecting barriers, cleaning fees, repairs to grass, permit fees and the salaries of official personnel on hand to monitor such demonstrations, all tallied at the discretion of the police.

Naturally, civil liberties groups consider the proposals an affront to the rights guaranteed under the first amendment. As the ACLU notes, such fees “could make mass protests like Martin Luther King Jr’s historic 1963 March on Washington and its ‘I have a dream’ speech too expensive to happen”.

During the Vietnam War the federal government attempted to impose similar barriers to citizens freely assembling in protest and were sued by the ACLU. In their ruling the courts reasserted the fact that “the use of parks for public assembly and airing of opinions is historic in our democratic society, and one of its cardinal values”.

The White House sidewalk, Lafayette Park, and the Ellipse were unique sites for the exercise of those rights, they ruled, and therefore they could not “accord deference to an executive approach to use of the White House sidewalk that is rooted in a bias against expressive conduct…”

"If you have to pay for free speech it's not free" The is considering fees for demonstrations in D.C.. is against the proposed plan, calling it an attack on free speech. WATCH: Public comment on proposal --->

The National Park Service has attempted to justify the proposal by pointing out that large protests, like the Women’s March, overtax their abilities, and place a heavy cost on the government. One might argue when it comes to preserving our right to protest no cost is too high.

The public has until 15 October to comment on the plans.

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Haiti's Prime Minister resigns amid deadly protests

(CNN)Haiti's Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant resigned Saturday amid violent and deadly protests sparked by a proposed plan to raise fuel prices, according to President Jovenel Moise.

Lafontant resigned before Parliament, which was due to host a vote of no confidence, Yves Germain Joseph, the general secretary of the National Palace, told CNN.
 
Lafontant, who took office in February 2017, informed Moise of his resignation by letter. Moise accepted the resignation, Joseph said.
 
Moise said on Twitter he would address the country Saturday night "in a special edition on the National Television of Haiti."
 
"I take this opportunity to thank Mr. Lafontant and the members of the cabinet for the services rendered to the nation," Moise said on Twitter.
 
The controversial plan to raise fuel prices would increase the cost of gasoline by 38%, diesel by 47% and kerosene by 51%.
 
Since the protests started last week, two people -- a police officer and social leader -- were killed, Joseph said.

 

Stranded Americans

 
Missionary groups from Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina were stranded in Haiti until Monday after protesters took to the streets following the fuel price hike.
American Airlines, JetBlue and Spirit Airlines also canceled flights to Haiti last week because of the protests.
 
One group said burning barricades prevented them from reaching the airport in the nation's capital, Port-au-Prince.
 
Jody Flowers, the lead minister from Chapin United Methodist Church, in South Carolina, was stranded with 13 members of his church until they returned Monday. Despite the violent demonstrations, Flowers expressed some sympathy for the protesters.
 
"When you think about the fact that some Haitians make just $5 a week and the government wants to increase the price of gasoline by 38% that in and of itself points to the reason for the unrest," he said. "Our hearts are just broken for the people out there and we're just thankful for our group, which has a lot of love and hope and a desire to help out however they can."
 
A security alert from the US Embassy in Haiti on Saturday said it was open for routine and emergency services for US citizens, but it issued a number of alerts about specific demonstrations and urged citizens to avoid those areas.
 
The US State Department still advises against travel to Haiti because of civil unrest and crime.
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Insults, demands & advice: Trump’s whirlwind European tour causes stir online

On his EU visit, US President Donald Trump lectured Germany on doing business with Russia, demanded tribute from NATO and offered advice on British politics. Many Europeans were having none of it, venting their spleen on Twitter.

Trump flew into Belgium for the NATO summit on Wednesday, then jetted to the UK for a state visit on Thursday. He is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday.

Trump vs Germany

The US leader started off the NATO summit by accusing Germany of being a “captive to Russia,” arguing that Berlin’s position within the military alliance was compromised because of its reliance on energy from Moscow. This led some journalists to accuse Trump of projecting his insecurities onto a rival, while others pointed out this dispelled claims he was soft on Russia.

@mitchellreports @Yamiche in Brussels: President Trump blasted his way into NATO, and for someone who is being blasted at home for being controlled by Russia, he really projected that on Germany.

@mtracey The funny part is Trump has taken far more consequential actions that are averse to Russia's interests (expelling diplomats, sending arms to Ukraine, approving sanctions, repeatedly bombing their client state) than Germany's, but listen to US media you'd assume the exact opposite

While Trump’s comments provoked fierce reaction online, Chancellor Angela Merkel was more restrained in her response. Online commentators were in no mood for civility, with some calling for Merkel to mete out some rough justice.

READ MORE: Merkel slams Trump’s ‘Russian captive’ comment, defends Berlin’s ‘independent policies’

@TheSarcasmShow I'm pretty sure Angela Merkel could take Donald Trump in a fight

@MrFilmkritik I can’t be the only one who just wants to see Merkel lose it and deck Trump.

One German TV network reportedly responded by digitally replacing the US president with an image of a Trump-shaped blimp made by some British protesters.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dh_Ua5QXkAc4DNt.jpg

He said, no one else said

If making culturally insensitive statements is a Trump trademark, so is declaring victory in disputes before being contradicted by the supposedly vanquished. The NATO summit produced a few such moments.

The former reality TV star has long berated NATO over military spending or lack thereof. Trump came to the summit looking to pick a fight with 24 alliance members failing to meet an agreed target of making their military budgets two percent of their GDP.

Trump later told the press he’d successfully pushed for a spending increase. French President Emmanuel Macron disagreed. Twitter weighed in to mediate. 

READ MORE: Trump warns NATO allies US can ‘do our own thing’ if 2% spending goal not met – reports

In another seemingly off-the-cuff remark, Trump said he wanted NATO members to double their spending, to four percent of GDP. Some felt they could see the malign hand of shady defense contractors at play.

Trump does Britain

UK Prime Minister Theresa May must have choked on her tea when she read Trump’s interview with The Sun on Friday morning. In a bizarre exclusive, Trump was scathing about her Brexit plan and even backed rival Boris Johnson to succeed her at 10 Downing Street. Later in the day, he insisted that the story was “fake news.” Online commentators knew who they were going to believe.

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Brazil: Lula Vows Not To Compromise Dignity On 'Free Lula' Day

Thousands gathered in cities across Brazil to demand the former president be released from prison on the 'National Day of Struggle to Free Lula.'

Thousands of Brazilians mobilized on Friday to demand the release of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, as the embattled Workers' Party leader declared he will never sacrifice his dignity for his freedom.

RELATED: Brazil: Lula Absolved of Obstruction of Justice Charges, but Kept in Prison

"I'm not going to exchange my dignity for my freedom," Lula told his former minister Celso Amorim. The imprisoned leader said his opponents wish to "prevent the people from hearing" what he has to say.

Meanwhile, thousands gathered in various cities across Brazil to demand Lula be released from prison in Curitiba, where he is being held. The protests were being held to mark the 'National Day of Struggle to Free Lula.'

Lula began his 12-year prison sentence for alleged corruption – charges he vehemently denies and says are politically motivated to keep him out of the looming presidential elections – in April.

In early July, a regional court judge ruled that Lula should be released until his appeals run out, but the decision was shot down less than a day later by a federal court, shattering the raised hopes of millions.

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