US Congress sends anti-white supremacist measure to Trump

Chicago interfaith community gathered for a service to show solidarity with the people of Charlottesville, Va., in this Aug. 14, 2017 photo, in Chicago. (AP)
Updated 13 September 2017

US Congress sends anti-white supremacist measure to Trump

WASHINGTON: Congress unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday condemning neo-Nazis, the KKK and other white nationalists that urges President Donald Trump to address hate groups after last month’s deadly racially-charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The joint resolution, which describes the violence as a “domestic terrorist attack,” calls on the Trump administration to improve data collection on hate crimes and speak out against increasingly prevalent hate groups.
The House of Representatives unanimously approved the measure Tuesday, after the Senate did so a day earlier, and it now goes to Trump for his signature.
Lawmakers from Virginia said Congress spoke with “a unified voice” to unequivocally condemn the unrest, in which a counterdemonstrator was killed when a car driven by a suspected white supremacist plowed into a crowd after a rally called by far-right extremists turned violent.
The measure recognizes and offers condolences for the death of Heather Heyer, two emergency responders also killed in a helicopter crash while monitoring the protest, and the 19 people injured in the violence.
“I hope this bipartisan action will help heal the wounds left in the aftermath of this tragedy and send a clear message to those that seek to divide our country that there is no place for hate and violence,” said House Democrat Gerry Connelly.
Trump was widely criticized for using divisive language after clashes between white supremacist groups and those opposed to them.
The president’s job approval ratings sank to one of the lowest levels of his turbulent seven-month presidency, as respondents savaged his handling of racial issues following the deadly chaos.
The resolution expresses “support for the Charlottesville community, rejecting white nationalists, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups, and urging the president and the president’s cabinet to use all available resources to address the threats posed by those groups.”


Hong Kong activists vow to ‘squeeze economy’ as city smolders

Updated 17 November 2019

Hong Kong activists vow to ‘squeeze economy’ as city smolders

  • Huge fires blaze as protesters hurl petrol bombs near campus
  • City on edge as over five months of demonstrations rumble on

HONG KONG: Hong Kong police clashed Sunday with pro-democracy activists who vowed to “squeeze the economy” as the increasingly divided city reels from one of the worst weeks of violence in the months-long crisis.

Protests have swept the global financial hub since June as many in the city of 7.5 million people have vented fury at eroding freedoms under Chinese rule.

A marked change in tactics last week to a “Blossom Everywhere” campaign of blockades and vandalism stretched the police force, shut down large chunks of Hong Kong’s train network and forced schools and shopping malls to close.

Students and protesters occupied several major universities around the city — the first time a movement characterized by its fluidity and unpredictability has coagulated in fixed locations.

A poster circulating on social media called for the “dawn action” to continue on Monday. “Get up early, directly target the regime, squeeze the economy to increase pressure,” it said.

The education bureau said schools will remain closed at the start of the week “for the sake of safety.”

The protests started against a now shelved bill to allow extradition to China but have billowed to encompass wider issues such as perceived police brutality and calls for universal suffrage in the former British colony.

Two people have died this month as the violence worsened, while the financial hub has been pushed into a recession by the turmoil.

Hong Kong’s airport authority on Sunday said October traffic figures were down 13 percent on last year with 5.4 million passengers.

Sunday’s exchanges of tear gas and petrol bombs broke out as protesters occupying Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Kowloon — now a key battleground near the blocked Cross-Harbor Tunnel — fight to keeping their stranglehold on the major transport link.

The streets around Hung Hom were thick with smoke as fires burned between the lines of black-clad activists, known as “braves,” and police in full riot gear launched tear gas rounds.

Dozens of government supporters had gathered in the area earlier to clear barricades near the university campus, which was the scene of more violence overnight as officers clashed with protesters.

Around 80 to 100 middle-aged residents clapped and cheered as they moved debris from the road near the entrance to the tunnel that connects Kowloon with Hong Kong island — shut since Tuesday — before protesters in masks and their signature black t-shirts returned to rebuild the roadblock.

Television images showed activists throwing bricks at the residents to drive them away.

The Polytechnic University (PolyU) has become a flashpoint in the city rocked by a week of intensified violence and chaos. A message on the university’s Facebook page urged demonstrators to leave “immediately.”

“In view of safety concerns posed by possible violent unlawful activities conducted by protesters who are still occupying the PolyU campus, the University again urges all people on campus, including students and staff members, not to stay, and to leave as soon as possible,” the post said.

However, protesters in PolyU circulated a poster online encouraging people to join them.

“Whole city unite, defend PolyU, defend Cross-Harbor Tunnel,” it said.

A 23-year-old PolyU student called Kason said at the scene: “It will be good for us if we can have a base to keep our gear and have some rest at night before we set off for another fight in the morning.”

PLA soldiers — based in barracks near Hong Kong Baptist University — briefly came out on Saturday to help the clean-up after a week of disruption, a rare and highly symbolic troop movement unsolicited by the city’s embattled government.

The action saw scores of soldiers from the garrison, which is confined to the barracks under Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, with crewcuts and identical gym kits conduct a lightning-quick removal of bricks and debris near their base.

Chinese state media has repeatedly warned that troops could be deployed to quell an unprecedented crisis in the semi-autonomous city that has entered its sixth month.

Confirming the brief deployment, the PLA said it acted to open a debris-strewn road outside their Kowloon Tong barracks to traffic, winning “applause from residents” in the process.

The last time soldiers assisted in the city was in 2018 to clean up after a typhoon.

A spokesman for Hong Kong’s government said the troop movement had not been requested by city authorities but was instead a “voluntary community activity initiated by themselves.”