Pelosi urges support for resolution to block border wall emergency

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote a letter to Democrats and Republicans late Wednesday. (File/AFP)
Updated 21 February 2019
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Pelosi urges support for resolution to block border wall emergency

  • Trump announced the emergency in order to bypass Congress
  • Sixteen states earlier this week sued over the declaration, but the Trump administration has continued with its plans

WASHINGTON: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday called upon lawmakers to back a resolution to halt the national emergency declared by US President Donald Trump to fund a wall on the southern border with Mexico.
Trump announced the emergency in order to bypass Congress, which approved only a quarter of the $5.6 billion he wanted for the wall in a spending bill.
Sixteen states earlier this week sued over the declaration, but the Trump administration has continued with plans to pull together around a further $6.6 billion in federal funding, mostly from the Department of Defense.
Texas congressman Joaquin Castro had last week vowed to introduce a resolution to terminate the president’s move.
Lawmakers have until 3:00 p.m. (2000 GMT) on Thursday to co-sponsor it, before it is formally introduced on Friday.
“I write to invite all Members of Congress to cosponsor Congressman Joaquin Castro’s privileged resolution,” Pelosi said in a letter to Democrats and Republicans late Wednesday.”
“The President’s decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated,” she said.
“We have a solemn responsibility to uphold the Constitution, and defend our system of checks and balances against the President’s assault.
Democrats were quick to express their support.
“I’m a YES to overturn the declaration,” Democratic Senator Brian Schatz tweeted.
Meanwhile, House Democrat Linda Sanchez, of California, said she was “proud” to support Castro’s resolution.


French yellow vests protest in Paris amid tighter security

Updated 23 March 2019
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French yellow vests protest in Paris amid tighter security

  • The Champs-Elysees was almost empty Saturday except for a huge police presence
  • Paris police detained 51 people by early afternoon, issued 29 fines and conducted 4,688 “preventive checks” on protesters entering the capital

PARIS: Thousands of French yellow vest demonstrators were marching through Paris on Saturday as authorities enforced bans on protests in certain areas and displayed enhanced security measures to avoid a repeat of last week’s riots in the capital.
The crowd gathered peacefully Saturday at Denfert-Rochereau Square in southern Paris and then headed north. The protesters are expected to finish Saturday’s march in the tourist-heavy neighborhood of Montmartre around its signature monument, the hilltop Sacre-Coeur Cathedral.
French authorities have banned protests from the Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris and the central neighborhoods of several other cities including Bordeaux, Toulouse, Marseille and Nice in the south, and Rouen in western France.
The Champs-Elysees was almost empty Saturday except for a huge police presence. Scores of shops were looted and ransacked last weekend, and some were set on fire by protesters. Fear of more violence certainly kept tourists away, and police shut down the Champs-Elysees subway stations as a precaution.
Paris police detained 51 people by early afternoon, issued 29 fines and conducted 4,688 “preventive checks” on protesters entering the capital.
In Nice, police dispersed a few hundred protesters who gathered on a central plaza. The city was placed under high security measures as Chinese President Xi Jinping was expected to stay overnight on Sunday as part of his state visit to France.
The new Paris police chief, Didier Lallement, who took charge following the destruction wrought by last week’s protests, said specific police units have been created to react faster to any violence.
About 6,000 police officers were deployed in the capital on Saturday and two drones were helping to monitor the demonstrations. French authorities also deployed soldiers to protect sensitive sites, allowing police forces to focus on maintaining order during the protests.
President Emmanuel Macron on Friday dismissed criticism from opposition leaders regarding the involvement of the military, saying they are not taking over police duties.
“Those trying to scare people, or to scare themselves, are wrong,” he said in Brussels.
Christelle Camus, a yellow vest protester from a southern suburb of Paris, called using French soldiers to help ensure security “a great nonsense.”
“Since when do soldiers face a population? We are here in France. You would say that we are here in (North) Korea or in China. I never saw something like this,” she said.
Last week’s surge in violence came as support for the 4-month-old anti-government yellow vest movement has been dwindling, mostly as a reaction to the riots by some protesters.
The protests started in November to oppose fuel tax hikes but have expanded into a broader rejection of Macron’s economic policies, which protesters say favor businesses and the wealthy over ordinary French workers. Macron countered by dropping the fuel tax hike and holding months of discussions with the public on France’s stagnant wages, high taxes and high unemployment.
The yellow vest movement was named after the fluorescent garments that French motorists must carry in their vehicles for emergencies.