(CNN)At Pride celebrations across the United States on Sunday, a protest movement that aims to draw attention to the struggles of marginalized people within the LGBTQ community made itself heard.
(CNN)At Pride celebrations across the United States on Sunday, a protest movement that aims to draw attention to the struggles of marginalized people within the LGBTQ community made itself heard.
More than 140,000 people have already cast ballots ahead of Tuesdays hotly contested U.S.House special election runoff in Georgia, indicating high interest in the race between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel that both parties see as an important bellwether.
Early voting ended Friday, and the ballots already cast more than double the comparable figure in Aprils first-round election, and amount to almost three quarters of the 192,000 people who voted in that 18-candidate race.
With spending on advertising by both sides nearing a total of $40 million, the race already ranks as the most expensive House contest in U.S. history.
Ossoff and Handel, as the top finishers in the first round, are vying for a seat in suburban Atlanta vacated by Republican Tom Price, who is now President Donald Trumps secretary of health and human services. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also once represented the district.
The high early vote total indicates that the final numbers on Tuesday will likely far surpass those of the April election.Election officials in Georgia hailed the unprecedented and phenomenal turnout, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It remained unclear, though, which candidate would benefit from a higher turnout.
Ossoff led by slightly more than 2 percentage points in the HuffPost Pollster average of recent surveys of the race.
Price won re-election November, garnering almost 62 percent of the roughly 311,000 votes cast.
Democrats in particular see the race to replace Price as a test of anti-Trump activism and strategy ahead of next years midterm elections. While they have made some impressive showings, they have yet to notch a victory in several highly anticipated congressional special elections this yearin traditionally GOP territory.
In Aprils election, Ossoff won about 48 percent of the vote, falling just short of clearing the 50 percent mark he needed to avoid a runoff. Handel, one of 11 Republicans competing in the first round, got about 20 percent.
Over the weekend, Ossoff and Handel both campaigned with high-profile political figuresin hopes of generating more enthusiasm. Price, as well as former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue who now serves as Trumps agriculture secretary joined Handel at a Saturday campaign stop. Ossoff got a boost Saturday from civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).
If he cant bomb it or tweet against it, the US presidents cupboard of responses seems bare. We may be denied a spectacle, then, but saved a distraction
How might President Trump react to a world leader who, afraid for his image, perhaps afraid for himself, refused to fulfil a promise to visit a loyal ally. He might fire off a tweet: RAN from critics. A gift for crooked MSM. TOTAL pathetic loser!
But he wont, because the loser is him. He got to hold hands with Theresa May when she visited Washington, but alas, that may be the high point of his cuddle-fest with her, and with us because Trump, it now appears, is not keen on making his proposed state visit to Britain any time soon.
He has apparently, in a recent telephone call to the prime minister, declared that he does not want to come if there are to be large-scale protests. The visit, we are told, is on hold.
Some may be surprised by this. From the violence and menace that became features of his ugly campaign, it was easy to assume that he liked a bit of edge at his public appearances. But on those occasions, he knew he would always have the support of far-right thugs and hangers-on who could drown out dissent and, if need be, throw a few punches at protesters, passers-by, anyone who would dare to question him. That intimidation, unprecedented in recent history, would have been more difficult to replicate here; he could hardly bring his street fighters with him. There are only so many seats on Air Force One.
Maybe he didnt fancy the trip without Theresa there to hold his hand; to keep him strong and stable, as it were. Even he might blanch all the way from Tango orange to the whitest white at the idea of skipping through the Downing Street rose garden hand in hand with Phil the spreadsheet Hammond or Boris Johnson.
So we may be denied a spectacle then but will hopefully be saved from the distraction of Trumps bandwagon when we may be fixating on at least one more general election, and we should certainly be focusing on the history-defining implications of Brexit.
Saved too for now at least the embarrassment of those who offered Trump the invitation in the first place, those who saw our new place in the world as lying at the feet of a reprobate.
And what do we learn from this? Once again we see what it is to deal with someone who has such high office and such thin skin. Just the notion of turbulence that might be seen around the world seems to be enough to scare him off. If he cant bomb it or tweet against it, the cupboard of responses seems bare.
But, for the more important message, look to ourselves. It is easy to question the efficacy of protest. Millions marched against the war in Iraq, but couldnt stop it. Millions more marched against Brexit and cuts in the NHS. There is rarely such a direct link to be drawn between public action and response from those with power, but each public protest speaks to the strength and tenor of opinion. Every one sets out a position and raises the stakes. Here the stakes became too high for a brittle, image-conscious president in Washington. What do we want? Not Trump. When do we want him? Never.
Far-right and anti-fascist groups face off with each other and law enforcement, a little over a week after two men died in a racially charged stabbing
A much-anticipated alt-right rally in Portland, Oregon has ended in police using stun grenades and tear gas against the most militant segment of a counter-protest.
At 3.30pm, police began pushing antifascist or antifa activists out of Chapman Square, just across from the rally in Terry Schrunk Plaza, in downtown Portland. Officers discharged grenades and gas as missiles were thrown. Portland police said on Twitter that they had closed the park due to criminal behavior including the use of bricks, mortar and other projectiles.
As the antifascists were pushed out, alt-right activists interrupted their schedule of speakers to rush to the edge of Schrunk Plaza and taunt them. Police said they had confiscated makeshift weapons and shields from protesters in Chapman Square, and said that at around 2pm protesters there launched marbles and other projectiles towards Schrunk Plaza.
Hours before, as the opposing activists gathered, tensions in the city were high, a little over a week after two men were killed and one wounded in a stabbing on city transportation.
Jeremy Christian, 35, was charged in the attack, in which Rick Best, 53, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, were killed after they intervened to help two young women who were the target of racial abuse. Christian was found to have expressed far-right views and to have attended a similar free speech rally in the city in April.
Anne Hidalgo says organisers of the Nyansapo Festival in the capital could be prosecuted because most of the event space would for black women only
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has called for a black feminist festival in the French capital to be banned, saying it was prohibited to white people.
The first edition of the Nyansapo Festival, due to run from July 28 to 30 at a cultural centre in Paris, bills itself as an event rooted in black feminism, activism, and on (a) European scale.
Four-fifths of the festival area will be set aside as a non-mixed space for black women, according to its website in French.
Another space will be a non-mixed area for black people regardless of gender. Another space would be open to all.
The English version of the site does not use the word non-mixed, but reserved.
Hidalgo said on Twitter that she firmly condemned the organisation of this event, prohibited to white people.
I am asking for this festival to be banned, Hidalgo said, adding she also reserved the right to prosecute the organisers for discrimination.
Police prefect Michel Delpuech said in a statement that police had not been advised about the event by Sunday evening.
But, Delpuech added, the police would ensure the rigorous compliance of the laws, values, and principles of the republic.
French anti-racist and anti-semitism organisations strongly condemned the festival.
SOS Racisme described the event as a mistake, even an abomination, because it wallows in ethnic separation, whereas anti-racism is a movement which seeks to go beyond race.
The International League against Racism and Antisemitism said Rosa Parks would be turning in her grave, a reference to the American civil rights icon.
Wallerand de Saint-Just, the regional head of Marine Le Pens National Front party, had challenged Hidalgo on Friday to explain how the city was putting on an event promoting a concept that is blatantly racist and anti-republican.
The cultural centre La Generale, where the event was to be hosted, and the collective Mwasi, which organised the event, said Sunday they were the target of a disinformation campaign and of fake news orchestrated by the foulest far right.
We are saddened to see certain antiracist associations letting themselves be manipulaed like this, according to a statement posted on the Generale website.
A decolonisation summer camp in the northeastern French city of Reims elicited similar outrage last year, as it billed itself as a training seminar on antiracism reserved for victims of institutional racism or racialised minorities excluding by default white people.
Landmark court case this week is likely to determine the success or failure of draft laws currently before parliament
Chi Chia-wei will find out on Wednesday if his decades long fight to make Taiwan the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage has been a success.
Chi, 59, a pioneering Taiwanese gay rights activist, is the celebrated face behind one of the most controversial legal cases the island democracy has seen in recent years, where 14 judges must rule if the civil code, which states that marriage is between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional.
The constitutional courts landmark ruling will not only determine the success or failure of draft new parliamentary laws to introduce marriage equality, but could cement Taiwans reputation as a beacon of liberalism in a region where the LGBT community faces increasing persecution.
Chi, an equal rights campaigner since he first came out as a gay teenager in 1975, remains pragmatic about making civil rights history. If it doesnt work out this time, Ill keep on fighting for the people, and for human rights, he said in an interview with The Guardian.
But he is determined that one day, the fight will be won.
Somebody has to do it. I dont want to see any more people commit suicide because they dont have marriage equality, he said.
Last October the suspected suicide of French professor, Jacques Picoux, who was unable to marry his Taiwanese partner of 35 years, Tseng Ching-chao, became a rallying call for Chi and other LGBT activists.
His struggle is also personal. Chis lawsuit, launched two years ago and supported by the municipal government in the capital, Taipei, is the latest of several attempts to get legal recognition for his 30 year relationship with his partner, who wishes to remain anonymous.
In 1986, when the nation was still under martial law, Chi was imprisoned for five months after submitting his first petition asking for gay marriage to be recognised.
As a flag bearer for equality, he hopes to inspire other LGBT activists fighting a crackdown across Asia.
On the eve of Taiwans court ruling, two gay men face a public caning in Indonesia. In South Korea, the military has been accused of carrying out a witch-hunt against gay recruits. In Bangladesh, 27 men were arrested last week on suspicion of being gay, a criminal offence.
Back in Taiwan, the political stakes of Wednesdays decision are also high.
When President Tsai Ing-wens ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) passed the first draft of a bill to legalise same-sex marriage in December, it prompted a fierce conservative backlash.
The issue has split Taiwanese society and vocal protests from a coalition of religious and right-wing family groups have caused many legislators to have second thoughts.
The fate of the legislation, soon to face a second reading, now lies in the hands of the court, believes Yu Mei-nu, the DPP parliamentarian who drafted it.
If the court ruled clearly in support of same-sex marriage and President Tsai offered her unequivocal support, it would embolden wavering legislators to vote in favour of the new laws, she argued.
If the grand justices make a decision that is not very clear, and it depends on a legislative yuan [parliament] vote, then it will be difficult. I think most legislators will abstain, she said.
We want her (Tsai) to be braver. If she can come out and say yes I support it then it will be passed.
Ahead of her election last year, Tsai voiced her support for marriage equality in a Facebook video. In the face of love, everyone is equal, she said.
But as she marked the first anniversary of her inauguration this weekend with low public approval ratings, Tsai faced criticism from all sides over her handling of gay marriage.
Its a little bit depressing for us. Before the election, she was really pro-gay rights. But now she has kind of disappeared, said student Vic Chiang, 23, at a Taipei rally last week on the International Day Against Homophobia.
Meanwhile, Robin Chen, a spokesman for the Coalition For Happiness of Our Next Generation, which links support for gay marriage with increased HIV infections, criticised the government for rushing the laws through.
The majority of the population does not know whats happening, he said. We need to discuss things on different levels because family is the foundation of society.
His fears were shared by Father Otfried Chan, secretary-general of the Chinese Regional Bishops Conference, who believes the court will likely back gay marriage. There is no debate, he said. Its a one-sided game.
Nerves are frayed ahead of the ruling, with both sides intending to demonstrate outside the court.
Chi, the choice is simple.
To legalise marriage would mean that Taiwans civil code and constitution will say that gay people are people, he said. If the law can be changed, Taiwans gay community will have human rights.
Stage and screen actor best known for his role in the TV series The Jewel in the Crown
The only unexpected thing about the wonderful actor Tim Pigott-Smith, who has died aged 70, was that he never played Iago or, indeed, Richard III. Having marked out a special line in sadistic villainy as Ronald Merrick in his career-defining, Bafta award-winning performance in The Jewel in the Crown (1984), Granada TVs adaptation for ITV of Paul Scotts Raj Quartet novels, he built a portfolio of characters both good and bad who were invariably presented with layers of technical accomplishment and emotional complexity.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill Sunday prohibiting the state’s cities and counties from enacting so-called “sanctuary” laws that prevent local law enforcement officers from inquiring about the immigration status of anyone they detain.
Abbott took the unusual step of signing the bill on Facebook with no advanced public notice. He said Texas residents expect lawmakers to “keep us safe” and said similar laws have already been tested in federal court, where opponents have already been hinting the bill will be immediately challenged.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 8, 2017
“Let’s face it, the reason why so many people come to America is because we are a nation of laws and Texas is doing its part to keep it that way,” Abbott said.
The timing of the signing caught Democratic lawmakers flatfooted. Democratic state Rep. Cesar Blanco said it looked like Abbott “wanted to get ahead” of any protests surrounding the bill signing. Abbott spokesman John Wittman said they chose to sign the bill on a Facebook livestream because that’s “where most people are getting their news nowadays.”
Protests over the bill have been intense for months and about 20 people were charged with criminal trespassing last week after staging a daylong sit-in at a state building where some of Abbott’s staff works. One Democratic state representative embarked on a three-day hunger strike in protest.
Teri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, said “we will fight this assault in the court” and the ballot box. Abbott said key provisions of the bill had already been tested at the U.S. Supreme Court, which struck down several components of Arizona’s law but allowed the provision permitting police to ask about immigration status.
Republicans say the bill is needed to ensure local jails honor requests from federal officials to keep dangerous offenders behind bars.
The bill allows police to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they detain, a situation that can range from arrest for a crime to being stopped for a traffic violation. It also requires local officials to comply with federal requests to hold criminal suspects for possible deportation.
One of the bill’s most controversial provisions allows for criminal charges against city or county officials who intentionally refuse to comply with federal authorities’ attempt to deport people in the country illegally who already have been jailed on offenses unrelated to immigration. Elected officials could face up to a year in jail and lose their posts if convicted of official misconduct.
Opponents blasted the Texas bill as a version of Arizona’s immigration crackdown law, SB 1070, which launched protests, lawsuits and national controversy in 2010. The Arizona law went to the U.S. Supreme court, which voided much of the measure but allowed the provision permitting police to ask about immigration status.
But the Texas and Arizona bills are not identical. Whereas the Arizona law required police to try to determine the immigration status of people during routine stops, the Texas bill doesn’t instruct officers to ask. But it does allow Texas police to inquire whether a person is in the country legally, even if they’re not under arrest.
Every major police chief in Texas opposed the bill. Thomas Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said millions in the nation’s second most populous state will now be subjected to racial profiling and suggested that worried Hispanic residents will now be less willing to cooperate with police investigations.
“Given the size of the state, this may well be the most costly gubernatorial signature in all of United States history,” Saenz said.
Some Democrats said the timing of the signing particularly stung after three recent federal court rulings that found intentional discrimination in Republican-passed voting laws.
“They did not connect the history of our culture or how closely that it is tied to Mexico,” Democratic state. Rep. Eddie Rodriguez said. “It’s just extremely personal. There is a lot of disconnect. They don’t really see this as affecting people.”
Texas doesn’t currently have any cities which have formally declared themselves sanctuaries for immigrants.
But Sally Hernandez, the sheriff of Travis County, which includes liberal Austin, enraged conservatives by refusing to honor federal detainer requests if the suspects weren’t arrested for immigration offenses or serious crimes such as murder. Hernandez softened her policy after Abbott cut funding to the county, saying decisions would be made on a case-by-case basis. She has said she will conform to the state’s ban if it becomes law.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
(CNN)Thousands are expected to take to the streets of Wisconsin on Monday to demand that the governor remove controversial Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a tough-talking firebrand who wants to use his deputies and correction officers to enforce federal immigration laws.
(CNN)I was surfing online when I stumbled upon a mural in Baltimore painted by artist Ernest Shaw. It’s a three-headed portrait of civil rights icons: James Baldwin, Malcolm X and, of course, Nina Simone.