Egypt police fire teargas as protesters clash; one dead

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Updated 28 December 2013
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Egypt police fire teargas as protesters clash; one dead

CAIRO: One person was killed in clashes during protests in Egypt on Friday, state news agency MENA reported, as protesters pressed on with demonstrations against the army-backed government.
MENA quoted an ambulance service as saying the death occurred in the Nile Delta province of Sharqia.
Earlier, police fired teargas in Egypt’s coastal city of Alexandria on Friday to break up clashes between opponents and supporters of ousted President Muhammad Mursi, security sources said.
Egypt has been thrown into turmoil by the military’s ouster of Mursi on July 3 following mass protests against his rule, a move that prompted his Muslim Brotherhood movement to organize daily demonstrations in cities across the country.
Thousands of Mursi’s supporters protested on Friday in the capital Cairo, the second biggest city of Alexandria and other coastal and Nile Delta towns, the security sources said.
“Clashes erupted in Alexandria between pro-Mursi protesters and residents who oppose Mursi,” said one of the sources, who asked not to be identified.
“They were annoyed by the protest that included anti-army chants, and it led to security forces firing teargas to disperse the crowds,” he added.
Smaller clashes also broke out in the Nile Delta province of Sharqia and the coastal city of Damietta, where one Mursi supporter was injured. On Aug. 14, Egyptian security forces broke up the two main pro-Mursi sit-ins in Cairo and killed hundreds of civilians.
The army-backed government then declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew. Thousands of Brotherhood members, including Mursi himself, have been arrested.
Around 57 people were killed in clashes between Mursi’s supporters and opponents last Sunday, one of the bloodiest days since the army seized power.
While the military intervention has the support of most Egyptians, the international community, and many in Egypt, have looked on with alarm as the army and police crack down hard on Mursi and his backers.
The United States, an ally of Egypt that has long supported its military with cash and equipment, said on Wednesday it would withhold deliveries of tanks, fighter aircraft, helicopters and missiles to Cairo, as well as $260 million in aid.
US Secretary of State John Kerry had said Washington would consider resuming some of the aid “on a basis of performance” as the interim government seeks to implement a “road map” designed to lead the country to fresh elections next year.
Egypt criticized the decision, saying it found it strange at a time when the country was “facing a war against terrorism.”
However, the US State Department said it would continue military support for counter terrorism and security in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders US ally Israel.
Egypt has been fighting an insurgency in the largely lawless region, which is also near the Palestinian Gaza strip. Sinai-based militants have intensified their attacks on military and police units since Mursi’s ouster. Six soldiers were wounded on Friday when a bomb exploded near army vehicles in Rafah city, northern Sinai, according to state media. Around 150 security personnel have died in Sinai’s insurgency since Mursi was toppled, according to an army source.


‘A dumb thing to do’: Trudeau apologizes for brownface

Updated 19 September 2019

‘A dumb thing to do’: Trudeau apologizes for brownface

  • Time magazine posted the photo
  • Trudeausaid he should have known better

TORONTO: Canadian leader Justin Trudeau’s campaign was hit Wednesday by the publication of a yearbook photo showing him in brownface makeup at a 2001 costume party. The prime minister apologized and said “it was a dumb thing to do.”
Time magazine posted the photo, which it says was published in the yearbook from the West Point Grey Academy, a private school in British Columbia where Trudeau worked as a teacher before entering politics. It depicts the then 29-year-old Trudeau wearing a turban and robe, with dark makeup on his hands, face and neck.
Trudeau, who launched his reelection campaign exactly one week ago, said he should have known better.
“I’m pissed off at myself, I’m disappointed in myself,” Trudeau told reporters traveling with him on his campaign plane.
The Canadian prime minister is but the latest politician to face scrutiny over racially insensitive photos and actions from their younger days. Earlier this year, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam faced intense pressure to resign after a racist picture surfaced from his 1984 medical school yearbook page. He denied being in the picture but admitted wearing blackface as a young man while portraying Michael Jackson at a dance party in the 1980s. Since then, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has acknowledged wearing blackface in college, and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has publicly apologized for donning blackface during a college skit more than 50 years ago. None has resigned.
The photo of Trudeau was taken at the school’s annual dinner, which had an “Arabian Nights” theme that year, Trudeau said, adding that he was dressed as a character from “Aladdin.” The prime minister said it was not the first time he has painted his face; once, he said, he performed a version of Harry Belafonte’s “Banana Boat Song (Day-O)” during a talent show.
“I should have known better then but I didn’t, and I am deeply sorry for it,” Trudeau said. “I’m going to ask Canadians to forgive me for what I did. I shouldn’t have done that. I take responsibility for it. It was a dumb thing to do.”
He said he has always been more enthusiastic about costumes than is “sometimes appropriate.”
“These are the situations I regret deeply,” Trudeau added.
The prime minister, who champions diversity and multiculturalism, said he didn’t consider it racist at the time but said society knows better now.
The photo’s publication could spell more trouble for Trudeau, who polls say is facing a serious challenge from Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.
Trudeau has been admired by liberals around the world for his progressive policies in the Trump era, with Canada accepting more refugees than the United States. His Liberal government has also strongly advocated free trade and legalized cannabis nationwide.
But the 47-year-old son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was already vulnerable following one of the biggest scandals in Canadian political history, which arose when Trudeau’s former attorney general said he improperly pressured her to halt the criminal prosecution of a company in Quebec. Trudeau has said he was standing up for jobs, but the scandal rocked the government and led to multiple resignations earlier this year, causing a drop in the leader’s poll ratings.
Following the release of the brownface photo, Trudeau said he would talk to his kids in the morning about taking responsibility.
His quick apology did not stem the criticism from political opponents, who took the prime minister to task for what they said was troubling behavior.
“It is insulting. Any time we hear examples of brownface or blackface it’s making a mockery of someone for what they live, for what their lived experiences are. I think he has to answer for it,” said Leftist New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh, a Sikh who wears a turban and the first visible minority to lead a national party.
Scheer, the opposition Conservative leader, said brownface was racist in 2001 and is racist in 2019.
“What Canadians saw this evening was someone with a complete lack of judgment and integrity and someone who is not fit to govern this country,” Scheer said.
Robert Bothwell, a professor of Canadian history and international relations at the University of Toronto, said he was “gobsmacked” at the development and wondered how it would land in Parliament.
“We’ll just have to see how the party reacts,” he said. “I’m very curious to know how Liberal members of Parliament that are black will react.”
How the scandal will affect Trudeau’s campaign remains in question. Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, said he didn’t think the photo’s release would cause people to vote differently. Wiseman said race and blackface play a much bigger role in US politics than in Canada.
“I don’t think this will swing the vote, although the story will get a lot of media play for a couple of days,” Wiseman said. “The Liberals may very well lose the election — they almost certainly will not do as well as in 2015 — but this is not the type of scandal that will drive voters to the Conservatives.”