Six people injured as man drives car into US immigration rally

In this still image taken from video and released by Unite Here Local 11, demonstrators try to stop a motorist from driving his car into an immigrant rights rally in Brea, California, on Oct. 26, 2017. (Antonio Mendoza/Unite Here Local 11 via AP)
Updated 03 November 2017

Six people injured as man drives car into US immigration rally

BREA, California: A man drove his car through marchers Thursday at an immigrant rights rally, with one demonstrator jumping on the hood as the car lurched forward and then stopped. Police quickly surrounded it and arrested the man.
Brea Police Chief Jack Conklin said none of the demonstrators sought first aid but the SEIU United Service Workers West union later released a statement saying six people were taken to a hospital for evaluation.
The union helped organize the protest and President David Huerta said the four union members and two staff were “victims of what appears to be a deliberate and hateful crime.”
Police disputed that.
“I think he was trying to get through the crowd,” Lt. Adam Hawley said. “We don’t have any indication he was trying to harm somebody.”
The demonstrators were marching about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles. They were urging Republican US Rep. Ed Royce to support an existing temporary immigration program for citizens of several Central American countries, said Andrew Cohen, a spokesman for Unite Here Local 11, a union representing hotel, food service and airport workers.
A video released by Cohen showed the car pushing through a line of demonstrators marching in a crosswalk. Several protesters pounded on the hood and one was pushed as the car inched ahead.
Another demonstrator jumped on the hood as the car pulled ahead perhaps 50 feet, then stopped in the middle of the intersection as police rushed in and ordered the marchers to get away from it.
Wenzek was arrested for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon, Hawley said. He was later released pending results of the investigation.
Cohen said Wenzek did not say anything as he drove through the protesters.
A woman who answered a phone number linked to Wenzek refused to allow an Associated Press reporter to talk to him and hung up.
Records show Wenzek was convicted in 2006 of committing lewd acts against a child under 14.


Johnson the Brexit ‘Hulk’ finally meets EU’s Juncker

Updated 16 September 2019

Johnson the Brexit ‘Hulk’ finally meets EU’s Juncker

  • Downing Street has confidently billed the Luxembourg visit as part of efforts to negotiate an orderly divorce from the union

LUXEMBOURG: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker for talks Monday insisting a Brexit deal is possible, despite deep skepticism from European capitals with just six weeks to go before departure day.
After a weekend in which he compared himself to comic book super-smasher Hulk, the British leader will enjoy a genteel working lunch of snails and salmon in Luxembourg with the EU Commission president.
Downing Street has confidently billed the Luxembourg visit as part of efforts to negotiate an orderly divorce from the union before an October 17 EU summit.
A UK spokesman said Johnson would tell Juncker that “progress has been made, given that before the summer recess many said reopening talks would not be possible.
“The UK needs to enact the referendum result and avoid another delay; the UK wants to deliver Brexit and move on to other priorities, and EU member states’ leaders want to renegotiate an orderly Brexit.”
But Brussels has played down talk of a breakthrough, insisting Johnson has yet to suggest any “legally operable” proposal to revise a previous withdrawal accord.
As he shook hands with Johnson, Juncker declared himself “cautiously optimistic” and insisted that “Europe never loses patience” despite the tortuous Brexit saga dragging on over three years.
Finland’s European affairs minister, Tytti Tuppurainen, who was chairing an EU ministerial meeting in Brussels, gave a more downbeat assessment, repeating the bloc’s long-standing complaint that London has simply not come up with detailed ideas for replacing the so-called “Irish backstop” section of the divorce deal.
“The European Union is always ready to negotiate when a proper proposal from the UK side is presented,” Tuppurainen said.
“So far I haven’t seen any proposal that would compensate the backstop.”
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, who joined the leaders for their talks in Juncker’s native Grand Duchy, said last week he has “no reason to be optimistic.”
The European Parliament will this week vote on a resolution rejecting Johnson’s demand that the backstop clause be stripped from the deal.
Johnson insists this measure, which temporarily keeps the UK in the EU customs union, has to go if he is to bring the agreement back to the House of Commons.
But the accord will also have to win the support of the other 27 EU leaders and the European Parliament if Britain is not to crash out with no deal on October 31 — a scenario that businesses warn would bring economic chaos.
Johnson, in turn, boasts that he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than ask his European counterparts to postpone Brexit for a third time.
“Be in no doubt that if we cannot get a deal — the right deal for both sides — then the UK will come out anyway,” Johnson said, writing in the Daily Telegraph on Monday.
A UK spokesman said that Britain would refuse an extension even if one were offered.
It is difficult, then, to see what might come from the lunch. There is no plan for a joint statement, but Barnier will meet Britain’s Brexit minister Stephen Barclay for separate discussions.
Speaking to the BBC on Sunday, Barclay indicated that any post-Brexit transition period could be extended past 2020 in order to resolve issues with the border.
Johnson, meanwhile, compared himself to Marvel comics hero Hulk, the rampaging mutant alter-ego of a mild-mannered nuclear scientist.
“The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets and he always escaped, no matter how tightly bound in he seemed to be,” Johnson told the Mail on Sunday.
Johnson’s strategy faces resistance at home, where rebel and opposition MPs have passed a law aimed at forcing him to seek a Brexit delay.
Britain’s Supreme Court will rule this week on a bid to overturn Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament and limit time to debate the crisis.
Barnier will address the European Parliament session in Strasbourg on Wednesday as MEPs vote to reaffirm and reinforce the EU Brexit stance — and insist that the backstop must stay.
After his lunch with Juncker, Johnson is due to meet Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel. The pair will hold a joint news conference.