Protests erupt in California after shooting of black man

Black Lives Matter protesters stage a demonstration in front of Sacramento City Hall on Mar. 30, 2018 in Sacramento, California. (AFP)
Updated 31 March 2018

Protests erupt in California after shooting of black man

SACRAMENTO: About 200 demonstrators squared off with police in riot gear overnight in California’s capital and more protests are planned for Saturday, after a autopsy on Stephon Clark contradicted the police account of the shooting of the unarmed black man.
Waving signs and chanting the 22-year-old’s name in unison, the protesters gathered at city hall before marching into the Old Sacramento part of the city, filled with bars, restaurants and tourists.
Protesters, some with megaphones and black masks covering their faces, shouted “Shoot us down, we shut you down,” along with expletives directed at the police.
More than 80 police and California Highway Patrol officers in riot gear blocked protesters from marching onto a highway.
Clark’s death was the most recent in a string of fatal shootings of black men by police that have triggered protests across the United States and fueled a national debate about bias in the American criminal justice system.
The father of two, was gunned down in the backyard of his grandparents’ house by police responding to a report that someone was breaking windows. Police said the officers who shot at Clark 20 times feared he was holding a firearm, but that he was later found to have been holding a cellphone.
Police have said he was moving toward officers in a menacing way when they fired. The incident was captured on a body cam video released by police on Wednesday.
The latest round of demonstrations were touched off by a new private autopsy on Clark that showed that none of the eight bullets hit him in the front, contradicting the police version of events, a lawyer for the deceased’s family said on Friday.
Clark was hit six times in the back, once in the side and once in the leg, the autopsy found.
Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the family of Clark said: “This independent autopsy affirms that Stephon was not a threat to police and was slain in another senseless police killing under increasingly questionable circumstances.”
The Sacramento Police Department said in a statement that it would have no further comment on the case until after the release of the findings of an official autopsy by the county coroner, and a review by state and local prosecutors.
Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who conducted the independent autopsy, said at a briefing that any one of seven bullets that entered the upper half of Clark’s body could have killed him.
Clark’s shooting has sparked largely peaceful demonstrations in Sacramento. On several occasions over the past two weeks, protesters have marched, held demonstrations and twice blocked fans from reaching games played by the Sacramento Kings NBA basketball team at the Golden 1 Center.
At the funeral service for Clark on Thursday, veteran civil rights leader the Reverend Al Sharpton said: “We’re going to make Donald Trump and the whole world deal with the issue of police misconduct.”
The service at a church in Sacramento came a day after White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the shooting was a “local matter.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has said state investigators will oversee the investigation and review the police department’s procedures and practices.
Another protest is planned for noon on Saturday and is to be led by retired Sacramento Kings’ basketball star Matt Barnes, a statement from the organizers of the Unity and Action rally said.


Kashmir protesters defy restrictions, clash with security forces

Updated 23 August 2019

Kashmir protesters defy restrictions, clash with security forces

  • Paramilitary police tried to enter Soura, which has emerged as a center of the protests, as hundreds demonstrated against Narendra Modi’s decision to withdraw autonomy
  • Posters appeared overnight in Srinagar, the Muslim-majority region’s main city, calling for a march to the office of the UN Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan

SRINAGAR, India: Security forces used tear gas against stone-throwing local residents in Indian Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar on Friday, after a third straight week of protests in the restive Soura district despite the imposition of tight restrictions.
Paramilitary police tried to enter Soura, which has emerged as a center of the protests, as hundreds of locals staged a protest march against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to withdraw autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir on Aug. 5.
Posters appeared overnight this week in Srinagar, the Muslim-majority region’s main city, calling for a march to the office of the UN Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), to protest against India’s decision.
This was the first such call by separatists seeking Kashmir’s secession from India. India’s move was accompanied by travel and communication restrictions in Kashmir that are still largely in place, although some landlines were restored last week.
The UNMOGIP was set up in 1949 after the first war between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, a Himalayan region both countries claim in full but rule in part. The group monitors cease-fire violations along the border between the countries.
In a narrow lane of Soura, blocked like many others with rocks and sheets of metal, residents hurled stones at the paramilitary police to stop them moving into an area around the local mosque, Jinab Sahib, which had earlier been packed for Friday prayers.
The police responded with several rounds of tear gas and chili grenades but were beaten back by dozens of stone-pelting men. Some men suffered pellet injuries.
The locals said the security forces had been repeatedly trying to move into Soura, often using tear gas and pellets.
“We are neither safe at home, nor outside,” said Rouf, who declined to give his full name. He had rubbed salt into his face to counteract the effects of tear gas.
The afternoon had begun peacefully, with men and women streaming into Jinab Sahib for afternoon prayers. A cleric then raised a call for “Azadi” – Urdu for freedom – several times, and declared Kashmir’s allegiance to neighboring Pakistan.
“Long live Pakistan,” the cleric said, as worshippers roared back in approval.
US President Donald Trump plans to discuss Kashmir when he meets Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of a G7 meeting in France this weekend, a senior US administration official said on Thursday.
Trump, who has offered to mediate between India and Pakistan, will press Modi on how he plans to calm regional tensions after the withdrawal of Kashmir’s autonomy, and stress the need for dialogue, the official said.
Some Indian media reports on Friday said “terrorists” were trying to enter India from Afghanistan, citing unnamed government officials.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan responded on Twitter on Friday that such claims were being made to “divert attention” away from what he called human rights violations in Kashmir.
“The Indian leadership will in all probability attempt a false flag operation to divert attention,” Khan said.
Khan’s comments came a day after United Nations experts called on the Indian government to “end the crackdown on freedom of expression, access to information and peaceful protests” in Kashmir, saying it would increase regional tensions.
“The blackout is a form of collective punishment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, without even a pretext of a precipitating offense,” they said in a statement.
At least 152 people have been hurt by teargas and pellets since security forces launched their crackdown, data from the Himalayan region’s two main hospitals shows.
Large swathes of Srinagar remain deserted with shops shut except for some provision stores with shutters half-down. Police vans patrolled some areas announcing a curfew and asking people to stay indoors.
On the Dal Lake, long rows of houseboats, normally packed with tourists at this time of year, floated closed and empty, as police patrolled its mirror-calm waters in boats.