This combination of photos shows from left, Minneapolis Police Officers J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao (AP)MINNEAPOLIS: A federal grand jury has indicted the four former Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd’s arrest and death, accusing them of violating the Black man’s constitutional rights as he was restrained face-down on the pavement and gasping for air, according to indictments unsealed on Friday. The three-count indictment names Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J Kueng and Tou Thao. Specifically, Chauvin, Thao and Kueng are charged with violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure and excessive force. All four officers are charged for their failure to provide Floyd with medical care. Chauvin was also charged in a second indictment, stemming from the arrest and neck restraint of a 14-year-old boy in 2017. Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Kueng appeared via videoconference in US district court in Minneapolis. Chauvin was not part of the court appearance. Chauvin was convicted last month on state charges of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death and is in Minnesota’s only maximum-security prison as he awaits sentencing. The other three former officers face a state trial in August, and they are free on bond. They were allowed to remain free after Friday’s federal court appearance. Floyd, 46, died on May 25 after Chauvin pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck, even as Floyd, who was handcuffed, repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. Kueng and Lane also helped restrain Floyd — state prosecutors have said Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back and Lane held down Floyd’s legs. State prosecutors say Thao held back bystanders and kept them from intervening during the 9 1/2-minute restraint. Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, argued during his murder trial that Chauvin acted reasonably in the situation and that Floyd died because of underlying health issues and drug use. He has filed a request for a new trial, citing many issues including the judge’s refusal to move the trial due to publicity. Nelson had no comment on the federal charges on Friday. Messages left with attorneys for two of the other officers were not immediately returned, and an attorney for the fourth officer was getting in an elevator and disconnected when reached by The Associated Press. Floyd’s arrest and death, which a bystander captured on cellphone video, sparked protests nationwide and widespread calls for an end to police brutality and racial inequities. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail
Generals who seized power in coup three months ago seek to further isolate country amid continuing opposition to their rule.Myanmar’s military-controlled media has announced a ban on satellite television dishes, saying outside broadcasts threaten national security, as the generals who seized power in a coup on February 1 charged a Japanese journalist with spreading false news.
“Satellite television is no longer legal. Whoever violates the television and video law, especially people using satellite dishes, shall be punished with one year imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 kyat ($320),” MRTV state television said on Tuesday.
“Illegal media outlets are broadcasting news that undermines national security, the rule of law and public order, and encouraging those who commit treason.”
The generals, led by army chief Min Aung Hlaing, arrested elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her government on February 1 as they seized power, ending Myanmar’s sluggish progress towards democracy.
Confirmed: Mobile data has been cut in #Myanmar for 50 days and online platforms remain heavily restricted limiting press freedom at a critical moment for the country’s future 📵#WorldPressFreedomDay#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) May 3, 2021
The country has been in turmoil ever since, with more than 760 people killed as security forces struggle to quash near-daily demonstrations against their rule.
They have cut off mobile internet access, forced independent media to close and arrested reporters. At least 50 are currently in detention.
Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi, who was arrested for a second time last month, was charged on Monday.
Kitazumi is the first foreign journalist to be charged since the coup. A Polish photographer arrested while covering a protest in March was freed and deported after nearly two weeks in custody.
Japan, for years a top aid donor to Myanmar, has been pressing for Kitazumi’s release.
“Naturally, we will continue to do our utmost for the early release of the Japanese national being held,” Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told Japanese journalists during a trip to Britain, according to national broadcaster NHK.
Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi escorted into a Yangon police station when he was first arrested in February. He has been charged with spreading fake news [File: AP Photo]Pro-democracy rallies have continued despite the military’s efforts to stamp out opposition.
On Tuesday, protesters gathered in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-biggest city, with education staff calling for a boycott of schools and universities when they reopen in June, the Myanmar Now news agency reported.
Local media reported that five people were killed by at least one parcel bomb on Tuesday, including an overthrown legislator and three police officers who had joined the civil disobedience movement against military rule.
Meanwhile, the Chinland Defence Force, a newly formed militia in Chin state bordering India, said on its Facebook page on Tuesday that its forces had killed at least four Myanmar army soldiers and wounded 10 in a clash overnight.
The Myanmar army did not comment on the claim.
Villagers had found the beheaded body of a military appointed local administrator in the northwestern Sagaing region, independent broadcaster DVB reported, a day after another local official was stabbed to death in the biggest city, Yangon.
The Reuters news agency was unable to reach local police for comment.
The military has defended its power grab, alleging fraud in the November election, which was won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party in a landslide, and condemned protesters as rioters and terrorists.
Anti-coup protesters flash the three-finger salute during a rally in Yangon on Tuesday YANGON: The Myanmar junta has charged a Japanese journalist under a “fake news” law, a report said Tuesday, in the latest blow to press freedom since the military seized power. Freelance reporter Yuki Kitazumi was arrested last month and charged on Monday — World Press Freedom Day — with spreading fake news, according to a report by Kyodo news agency. He is one of 50 journalists currently held in Myanmar as part of the junta’s crackdown on widespread protests against its February 1 coup. The country has been in turmoil since civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s government was ousted, with more than 750 people killed as security forces struggle to quash near-daily demonstrations against their rule. Kyodo cited an unnamed Japanese embassy official saying Kitazumi had no health problems, despite spending several weeks in Yangon’s Insein prison, which has a long and unsavoury reputation for holding political prisoners. Kitazumi has been in custody since April 18 — the second time he had been arrested since the coup. In February, he was beaten up and briefly held during a crackdown on protesters but was later released. Japan, for years a top aid donor to Myanmar, has been pressing for his release. “Naturally, we will continue to do our utmost for the early release of the Japanese national being held,” Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told Japanese journalists during a trip to Britain, according to national broadcaster NHK. A total of 766 civilians have been killed in the military crackdown on protests, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a local monitoring group. Kitazumi is the first foreign journalist to be charged since the coup. A Polish photographer arrested while covering a protest in March was freed and deported after nearly two weeks in custody. As well as arresting journalists, the generals have sought to clamp down on news of the crisis by shuttering independent media outlets and throttling internet speeds. The AAPP says there are 50 journalists in custody at the moment, 25 of whom have been prosecuted, while arrest warrants are out for another 29. Despite the dangers, protesters continue to take to the streets, with early-morning demonstrations on Tuesday in the second-biggest city Mandalay, as well as northern Kachin state. The military has defended its seizure of power, pointing to fraud allegations in the November election, and condemned protesters as rioters and terrorists. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail
Yuki Kitazumi is thought to be the first foreign journalist charged for his coverage since the coup.
The former Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs has pleaded not guilty to three charges of domestic abuse against his ex-partner and her sister.Giggs, 47, appeared at Manchester magistrates court on Wednesday to face charges of assaulting his ex, Kate Greville, and engaging in controlling or coercive behaviour towards her between 1 December 2017 and 2 November last year.The assault is alleged to have happened at his home in Worsley, Salford, on 2 November.Giggs is also accused of beating Emma Greville on the same date. She is believed to be Kate’s sister.Giggs appeared in the dock for his first court appearance as the three charges against him were read out and he entered his not guilty pleas.He was bailed to appear at Manchester crown court on 26 May.His bail conditions prevent him from contacting Kate or Emma Greville or going to any address where they are.The charge of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship was introduced in the Serious Crime Act 2015.Giggs is accused of having “repeatedly or continuously engaged in behaviour which was controlling or coercive, namely, used violence, isolation, belittling, humiliation, harassment, degradation and abuse towards Kate Greville, to whom, at the time of the behaviour, you were personally connected in that you were in an intimate relationship, that behaviour having a serious effect on her, and you knew or ought to have known that the behaviour would have a serious effect on her”.Giggs spent his entire playing career at Manchester United, making his debut in 1991 and retiring in 2016.He was appointed manager of the Wales national team in 2018. When the criminal charges against him were announced last week, the Football Association of Wales (FAW) said Robert Page would manage the team for this summer’s postponed Euro 2020 tournament.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States – Activists in Minneapolis are demanding all charges be dropped against those who protested against police brutality and racism in the year since George Floyd was murdered, saying the arrests are an attempt to clamp down on dissent.
Former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on second and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges in relation to Floyd’s death on April 20.
The verdict caused joyous celebration and calls for further justice, especially for the hundreds of protesters still facing charges.
About 600 people were arrested in the initial protests, which activists call an “uprising”, but mass arrests have occurred at numerous demonstrations since. Most recently, about 150 arrests were made during protests following Daunte Wright’s killing by former police officer Kim Potter, which occurred in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center as Chauvin’s trial was taking place.
About 50 people were arrested after Chauvin was released on bail in October, roughly 600 during the post-election tumult in November, and 35 at a demonstration on New Year’s Eve and other protests. The arrests resulted in charges ranging from petty misdemeanours to felony riot.
An activist leads a protest of demonstrators while marching through downtown Minneapolis demanding justice for George Floyd and Daunte Wright during jury deliberations in former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 19, 2021 [File: Octavio Jones/Reuters]Link, a self-described “leftist” who gave only his first name due to arrests by the Minneapolis Police Department, told Al Jazeera it was “the people who were out protesting and that they’re trying to repress and give all these charges to” that put pressure on authorities to prosecute Chauvin.
Local organisations like the National Lawyers Guild and the Legal Rights Center are organising the hundreds of people arrested to fight the charges.
Traia Thiel, a chapter organiser with the Minneapolis National Lawyer’s Guild, told Al Jazeera she was charged with a misdemeanour after the October protest.
Thiel explained those arrested coordinated with each other and mounted a unified attempt to bring the charges to trial.
Hennepin County courts are overloaded with arrests from the past year and the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down proceedings further, making legal proceedings against protesters a cumbersome task for local courts.
While some took plea deals, Thiel’s misdeamnour was dropped along with all others who had not taken a plea deal “just a few weeks ago”, she said.
600 on I-94
Thiel explained it is difficult to know exactly how many people have been arrested or taken pleas, given the large number of arrests over the past year.
She was not personally surprised by her charges being dropped, but said she thought “the 600 cases before they drop this small group of 50 … it’s interesting the way they’re choosing which events to sort of let go”.
The 600 cases occurred during a post-election protest on Interstate 94. Rob Lewis, Maria Higueros-Canny, Theo Martinson-Sage and Mara McCollor were all arrested that night.
The Hennepin County Attorney charged Amina McCaskill, 19, with felony 2nd-degree riot during the I-94 protest in Minneapolis. Police allege in a complaint McCaskill admitted to pointing a laser at an officer, but that they were wearing laser safety glasses and weren’t injured.
— Tony Webster (@webster) November 6, 2020
Lewis and Higueros-Canny are both teachers. Martinson-Sage and McCollor are university students. All were inspired to protest by the tumult they saw in 2020. All received misdemeanour charges, which they plan to fight.
Higueros-Canny, a single mother, left her children in the care of her sister. She, along with the others were arrested about 8pm local time after they were “kettled”, a tactic police use to control large crowds by surrounding demonstrators.
Law enforcement officers took hours to book the hundreds of detainees. As time went on, Higueros-Canny began to worry about her children. “We finally went and turned ourselves over probably about 11:30 pm.”
McCollor and Martinson-Sage, who are in their early 20s, were also arrested about 8pm. It was the first arrest for both.
Their hands were zip-tied behind their backs by police as they were arrested. McCollor said she was fearful as “heavily-armed police” officers on horses surrounded the group and helicopters flying overhead.
The university students were given their charges at a police car after a few hours and released. But they were still zip-tied, they said, unable to use their phones to call a ride.
Eventually, they found others who could help them cut the plastic holding their hands.
Demonstrators Arrested In Minneapolis After Hundreds Walk Onto I-94 In Protest Of Election https://t.co/AZlWiKZs98 pic.twitter.com/piz97HxR87
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) November 5, 2020
All felt the kettling and arrests were meant to clamp down on activism. Lewis said the experience made him draw parallels with activists he knew in Egypt.
“You don’t go out to protest because you’ll be beaten up. You’ll be surrounded. You’ll be arrested.”
Once he saw protests in Brooklyn Center after Wright’s death, which involved tear gas, mace and less lethal munitions used on protesters, Lewis “was triggered into thinking, am I going to be safe going out to a protest?”
A person stands on an apartment complex balcony while smoke rises in the background as law enforcement officers begin to clear protesters rallying outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department on April 14, 2021 [File: Leah Millis/Reuters]Still, all four said they will keep protesting.
“I might not get on a highway any time soon,” Higueros-Canny said, “but I’m still going to be out there at night protesting in places like Brooklyn Center.”
She concluded: “All of this has made me even more determined.”