Sudanese army faces widening opposition to coup as nightly protests pick up

KHARTOUM (Reuters) -The Sudanese army faces widening opposition to this week’s coup with the U.N. Security Council on Thursday urging the restoration of the civilian-led transitional government and activists in Sudan mobilizing for protests this weekend.

The takeover, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Monday against a civilian government, has brought thousands of people on to the streets to reject a return of military rule and demand a transition towards civilian rule be put back on track.

Witnesses told Reuters they saw security forces use live and rubber bullets against protesters in Bahri, across the river from the capital, Khartoum, as nightly protests began to pick up.

The Security Council expressed serious concern about the takeover and urged all parties to exercise maximum restraint and engage in dialogue without pre-conditions.

In a statement, agreed by consensus, the 15-member body also called for the immediate release of all those who have been detained by the military.

The coup brought an end to a shaky transitional set-up intended to lead to elections in 2023 by sharing power between civilians and the military following the fall of Omar al-Bashir, whom the army deposed after a popular uprising two years ago.

It has been met with broad condemnation from Western governments including the United States which threw diplomatic and financial weight behind the transition and has frozen aid since the coup.

In a statement posted on Facebook overnight, ministries and agencies of Sudan’s most populous state, Khartoum, which includes the capital and twin city Omdurman, said they would not step aside or hand over their duties.

They declared a general strike, joining unions in sectors such as healthcare and aviation, although they said they would continue to supply flour, cooking gas and emergency medical care.

The main market, banks and filling stations in Khartoum were still closed on Thursday. Hospitals were providing only emergency services. Smaller shops were open, but there were long queues for bread.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted overnight that he had spoken by phone to Foreign Minister Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi.

Blinken said he condemned the arrest of civilian leaders in Sudan and discussed with Mahdi “how the U.S. can best support the Sudanese people’s call for a return to civilian-led transition to democracy”.

A U.N. official urged Burhan to start a dialogue with ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and offered to facilitate a political settlement.

A statement issued by the office of U.N. special representative to Sudan Volker Perthes did not say how Burhan had responded to the offer made at a meeting on Wednesday.

Perthes urged Burhan to deescalate the situation.

Hamdok, initially held at Burhan’s residence, was allowed to return home under guard on Tuesday. A source close to him said he remains committed to a civilian democratic transition and the goals of the revolt that toppled Bashir.

BURHAN IGNORED WARNINGS

The toll of people killed in clashes with security forces since Monday climbed to eight, with a 22-year-old man dying of gunshot wounds, a medical source said. Opponents fear the army-led authorities could deploy more force.

The source close to Hamdok said the prime minister had called for the military to avoid violence against protesters.

Opponents of the coup have been handing out fliers calling for a “march of millions” on Saturday against military rule, falling back on old methods of mobilization with the authorities restricting the use of internet and phones.

The protest is being called under the slogan “Leave!” used in the protests that brought down Bashir.

Since the anti-Bashir uprising, protests have been organized through neighborhood committees that can mobilize locally without access to the internet or to major roads closed by security forces.

Sudan has been in the midst of a deep economic crisis with record inflation and shortages of basic goods, which only recently showed signs of possible improvement helped by aid that major Western donors say will end unless the coup is reversed.

More than half the population is living in poverty and child malnutrition stands at 38%, according to the United Nations.

Burhan’s move reasserted the army’s dominant role in Sudan since independence in 1956, after weeks of mounting tension between the military and civilians in the transitional government over issues including whether to hand Bashir and others over to The Hague where they are wanted for war crimes.

Burhan has said he acted to stop the country slipping into civil war and has promised elections in July 2023.

Western envoys had warned Burhan that assistance, including a now frozen $700 million in U.S. aid and $2 billion from the World Bank, would cease if he took power. Sources said he ignored those warnings under pressure from inside the military and with a “green light” from Russia.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz in Khartoum and Nafisa Eltahir in Cairo; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Peter Graff and Nick Macfie)

Taliban fire in air to scatter hundreds of protesters in Kabul

(Reuters) – Taliban gunmen fired in the air on Tuesday to scatter protesters in the Afghan capital Kabul, witnesses said, as video showed scores scurrying to escape volleys of gunfire.

Hundreds of men and women shouting slogans such as “Long live the resistance” and “Death to Pakistan” marched in the streets to protest against the Taliban takeover. Neighboring Pakistan has deep ties with the Taliban and has been accused of assisting the Islamist group’s return to power – charges it denies.

“The Islamic government is shooting at our poor people,” one panic-stricken woman on the street says over sounds of gunfire in a video clip shown on Iranian television news. There were no immediate reports of injuries, however.

The Taliban’s rapid advance across Afghanistan as U.S. forces pulled out last month triggered a scramble to leave by people fearing reprisals.

U.S.-led foreign forces evacuated about 124,000 foreigners and at-risk Afghans, but tens of thousands were left behind.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States was in contact with about 100 Americans who were still in Afghanistan.

About 1,000 people, including Americans, have been stuck in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif for days awaiting clearance for charter flights to leave, an organizer told Reuters, blaming the delay on the U.S. State Department.

Blinken, holding talks in Qatar, a key interlocutor with the Taliban, said the problem was one of documents.

“My understanding is that the Taliban have not denied exit to anyone holding a valid document, but they have said those without valid documents, at this point, can’t leave,” he told reporters.

“Because all of these people are grouped together, that’s meant that flights have not been allowed to go … We are not aware of anyone being held on an aircraft, or any hostage-like situation.”

AIRPORT RESTART

At the same news conference, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said no deal had yet been reached with the Taliban on how Qatar and its partner Turkey could get Kabul airport running again.

“We hope in the next few days we can get to a level where the airport is up and running for passengers and for humanitarian aid as well,” he said.

Turkey says it wants to provide security inside the airport to protect any Turkish staff and safeguard operations, but that the Taliban have insisted no foreign forces can be present.

On Monday, the Islamist militants claimed victory in the Panjshir valley, the last province holding out against it, and promised to name a government soon.

Pictures on social media showed Taliban members standing in front of the Panjshir governor’s compound after days of fighting with the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA), commanded by Panjshiri leader Ahmad Massoud.

Massoud denied that his force, consisting of remnants of the Afghan army as well as local militia fighters, was beaten.

“We are in Panjshir and our resistance will continue,” he tweeted. He said he was safe but did not say where.

The Taliban have repeatedly sought to reassure Afghans and foreign countries that they will not return to the brutality of their last reign two decades ago, marked by violent public punishments and the barring of women and girls from public life.

But more than three weeks after seizing Kabul, they have yet to set out their plans.

Asked whether Washington would recognize the Taliban, U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters at the White House on Monday: “That’s a long way off.”

STUDENTS SEGREGATED

Teachers and students at universities in Afghanistan’s largest cities – Kabul, Kandahar and Herat – told Reuters that female students were being segregated in class with curtains, taught separately or limited to some campus areas.

“Putting up curtains is not acceptable,” Anjila, a 21-year-old female student at Kabul University, said by telephone, adding that women had sat apart from males in classrooms before the Taliban took over, but without barriers.

“I really felt terrible when I entered the class … We are gradually going back to 20 years ago.”

The conflict in Afghanistan, coupled with drought and coronavirus, has left 18 million people – almost half the population – in need of humanitarian aid, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said.

It said tens of thousands of families had headed for relief camps in urban areas, but found they had neither food nor income.

“Basic services in Afghanistan are collapsing and food and other lifesaving aid is about to run out,” Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told a news conference in Geneva, urging more aid ahead of an international donor conference on Sept. 13.

The World Health Organization is liaising with Qatar on deliveries of urgently needed medical supplies, WHO regional emergency director Rick Brennan said.

Drought and war have forced about 5.5 million Afghans to flee their homes, including more than 550,000 newly displaced in 2021, the International Organization for Migration says.

Western powers say they are prepared to send humanitarian aid, but that broader economic engagement depends on the shape and actions of the Taliban government.

(Reporting by Reuters bureaus; Writing by Clarence Fernandez, Raju Gopalakrishnan and Kevin Liffey; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Clashes in Thailand as pressure builds on PM over coronavirus crisis

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters near the office of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Monday, as opposition parties moved to censure him in parliament over his handling of a COVID-19 crisis.

Hundreds of protesters marched on the Government House to demand Prayuth resigns, the latest show of growing public anger about a worsening epidemic and a chaotic vaccine rollout.

The rallies are being led by groups who also sought former army chief Prayuth’s ouster last year, accusing him and his allies of seeking to entrench the military’s control of politics.

“We are out here to stop the ongoing failure and stop the losses, because if Prayuth Chan-ocha remains in power, more people will die,” activist Songpon “Yajai” Sonthirak said during the march.

Opposition lawmakers on Monday filed a no-confidence motion against Prayuth and five of his cabinet ministers, which will lead to a censure debate over the COVID-19 crisis, likely later this month or early September, according to house speaker.

Police fired tear gas cannisters and used water cannon when protesters tried to dismantle a police barricade on Monday, the latest as in a series of recent demonstrations that led to violence, including the use of rubber bullets to disperse protests.

Clashes also took place late on Monday near Prayuth’s residence in another part of the capital.

“Bangkok has declared an emergency and a gathering or activity involving more than five people is not possible, it’s illegal,” said Piya Tavichai, deputy head of the Bangkok police.

(Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Martin Petty)

With fuel and food scarce, people in Colombia’s Cali ask for negotiation

By Luis Jaime Acosta

CALI, Colombia (Reuters) – Residents of the Colombian city of Cali, the epicenter of protests against the government of Ivan Duque, are struggling under the weight of demonstrators’ road blockades, which have tripled some foods prices and made gasoline scarce.

The city – usually known for its love of salsa dancing – has had more confirmed deaths than any other during the demonstrations, which began in late April, as well as some looting.

Residents say it is urgent agreements be reached between protesters and the government so more food and fuel shipments can enter the city and to end the protests – the longest and most violent demonstrations in Colombia’s recent history.

“We are living a critical moment,” said Andres Bolanos, 28, as he waited in a long line to fill the tank of his motorcycle.

“The two sides need to make an agreement so there’s a good humanitarian corridor.”

Some gasoline lines stretched 2 kilometers (1.25 miles), while other gas stations, not able to get in shipments, were shuttered.

Cars are limited to 4 gallons (15 liters) and motorcycles to 2, and owners can fill up only on certain days according to license plate number.

Those supermarkets that are not closed have conspicuously empty shelves, even as prices rise for remaining food products.

“The impact has been total scarcity and price rises,” said grocery store owner Diana Falla, 36. “We got what we could and brought it in ourselves because sometimes purveyors don’t arrive.”

The cost of box of 30 eggs was up to 18,000 pesos, about $4.80, from a previous price of 12,000 pesos, and a pound of potatoes has tripled in price, to the equivalent of $0.80.

Falla said she has stopped selling many vegetables and fruits because supplier prices are just too high.

“You can’t get plantain, potato, chicken,” said 72-year-old housewife Clara Grijalba, as she stood outside Falla’s shop. “Please lift (the blockades), we can’t go on like this.”

Protesters, who originally called marches against a now-canceled tax plan, have expanded demands to include a basic income, an end to police violence and education and jobs for young people, among other things.

The death toll from protests is disputed. The human rights ombudsman is investigating 41 civilian deaths, while the attorney general’s office has confirmed 14.

At Puerto Resistencia, a working class area that has become a symbol of protests, demonstrators asked residents for calm.

“They don’t have food, they have shortages, but lots of people live with daily shortages,” said Elizabeth Serna, 40, leader of a blockade manned mostly by young people.

Blockades will continue until there is a deal with the government, she said.

“They must have patience because we’ll win this fight for everyone.”

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Myanmar junta blames protesters as EU, U.S. impose sanctions

(Reuters) – Myanmar’s military accused anti-junta protesters of arson and violence as Western countries imposed more sanctions on individuals and groups linked to last month’s coup and the ensuing bloody crackdown on dissent.

Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun said 164 protesters had been killed in the violence and expressed sadness at the deaths.

“They are also our citizens,” he told a news conference in the capital Naypyitaw on Tuesday, adding that the military would use the least force possible to quell violence.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) activist group says at least 261 people have been killed in the brutal crackdown by security forces that has left the Southeast Asian nation in turmoil.

Three people including a teenage boy were killed in unrest on Monday in Myanmar’s second city, Mandalay, witnesses and news reports said.

The junta has tried to justify the coup by saying a Nov. 8 election won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) was fraudulent – an accusation the electoral commission rejected. Military leaders have promised a new election but have not set a date and have declared a state of emergency.

Zaw Min Tun blamed protesters for violence and arson and said nine members of the security forces had been killed.

“Can we call these peaceful protesters?” he said, while showing a video of factories on fire. “Which country or organization would regard this violence as peaceful?”

He said strikes and hospitals not fully operating had caused deaths, including from COVID-19, calling them “undutiful and unethical”.

The spokesman also accused media of “fake news” and fanning unrest and said reporters could be prosecuted if they were in contact with the CRPH, as the remnants of Suu Kyi’s government is known locally. The military has declared the CRPH an illegal organization and said membership is punishable by death.

In the over three hour news conference, the spokesman also said the military respected the media and although reporting protests was allowed, leading them was a crime.

Zaw Min Tun gave granular details or how the NLD had created hundreds or even thousands of extra ballots in numerous townships by inventing voters, including in Suu Kyi’s own constituency. Videos of people saying they were paid by NLD representatives were shown at the news conference.

Also shown was video testimony of former Yangon chief minister Phyo Min Thein saying he visited Suu Kyi multiple times and gave her money “whenever needed.”

Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her campaign to bring democratic civilian rule to Myanmar, has been in detention since the coup. Her lawyer says charges against her are trumped up.

‘UNBEARABLE EXTENT’

The European Union and the United States imposed sanctions on Monday against individuals involved in the coup and the repression of the demonstrators.

The EU sanctions were the bloc’s most significant response since the overthrow of Suu Kyi’s elected government on Feb. 1.

The 11 people it targeted included General Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief of the Myanmar military and head of the junta that has taken power.

The EU already has an arms embargo on Myanmar and has targeted some senior military officials since 2018.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters before the meeting that the military repression “has reached an unbearable extent”.

Washington had already sanctioned Min Aung Hlaing and the measures announced on Monday expanded the list.

There was no immediate response from the junta, which has shown no sign so far of being swayed by international condemnation of its actions.

Myanmar’s neighbors are also speaking out against the violence, which is rare for countries in the region.

“We believe violence against unarmed civilians is inexcusable,” Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said in Kuala Lumpur after talks with his Malaysian counterpart.

“We still believe there should be no external interference in the domestic affairs of a country, but to the maximum extent possible…we stand ready to do our best to support the people of Myanmar who in fact deserve so much better in the future.”

The junta said it is cooperating with five neighboring countries – Bangladesh, China, India, Laos and Thailand – and values and respects their words, plus any countries that respect the stability of Myanmar.

(Reporting by Reuters Staff; Writing by Ed Davies and Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Court rules against anti-abortion protesters in New York

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A divided federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled against anti-abortion protesters who have tried to discourage women from entering a reproductive health clinic in the New York City borough of Queens.

Ruling in favor of the New York attorney general’s office, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected claims by the 13 protesters that a federal law and a similar state law protecting abortion providers and patients from attacks and threats of force violated their constitutional free speech rights.

In a 116-page decision, Circuit Judge Rosemary Pooler said the federal law was designed to be broad, “given the health risks women needing reproductive care face because of the increased stress, anxiety, and agitation” from misconduct by protesters.

The 2-1 majority also said New York faced irreparable harm absent an injunction against the Saturday morning protests at the Choices Women’s Medical Center in Jamaica because the protests, which began in 2012, could recur.

Chief Judge Debra Ann Livingston dissented, accusing the majority of effectively creating “‘buffer zone’ equivalents, thereby threatening the ongoing suppression of legitimate First Amendment activity.”

The appeals court returned the case to U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon in Brooklyn, who in July 2018 rejected the state’s request for an injunction against the protests.

Neither the protesters’ lawyers nor the office of state Attorney General Letitia James had an immediate comment.

Wednesday’s decision comes as many states and anti-abortion activists push to curb abortion access, hoping a conservative Supreme Court majority will weaken or overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision establishing abortion as a constitutional right.

The lawsuit had been brought in 2017 by Eric Schneiderman, then New York’s attorney general.

He said protesters crowded women trying to enter the Choices clinic, made death threats to people trying to escort them, and blocked their path with posters purportedly of aborted fetuses.

Amon had found no proof that the protesters intended to “harass, annoy, or alarm” patients and their escorts.

The case is New York v Griepp et al, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Nos. 18-2454, 18-2623, 18-2627 and 18-2630.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)

Ohio city braces for demonstrations over police shooting

By Rich McKay

(Reuters) – Protesters were expected to gather on Friday evening in downtown Columbus, Ohio, to demand transparency in investigations in the fatal shooting of a 23-year-old Black man killed by a sheriff’s deputy while entering his home last week.

The shooting occurred on Dec. 4 after a Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy said he spotted a man with a gun in the Northland neighborhood of Columbus, according to authorities. The officer fired his weapon after the man failed to obey commands to drop the gun, police said.

The family of the slain man, Casey Christopher Goodson, said he had been shot while returning from a dental appointment after buying three sandwiches at a local shop. A coroner’s report said that he was shot multiple times in the torso.

“I’m calling for justice and that’s all I’m calling for,” Goodson’s mother, Tamala Payne, said in a news conference Thursday. “My son was a peaceful man and I want his legacy to continue in peace.”

Lawyers for the deputy, identified as Jason Meade, said that Goodson had pointed a gun at him before the shooting, CBS News and other media reported.

The shooting is the latest in a spate of killings of African Americans by police in the United States this that have triggered a wave of protests over racial injustice and brutality by law enforcement.

Columbus police, along with federal authorities, have launched investigations into the shooting, along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the FBI.

Tom Quinlan, chief of police in Columbus, has promised an “independent, meticulous unbiased investigation.”

(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Alistair Bell)

Trump and Biden protesters duel outside vote-counting centers in cliffhanger election

By Mimi Dwyer and Joseph Tanfani

PHOENIX/PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Backers of President Donald Trump, some carrying guns, ramped up demonstrations on Thursday night against what he has baselessly called a rigged election, in battleground states where votes were still being counted.

The demonstrations were largely peaceful, although Trump supporters occasionally shouted with counter protesters. Trump says the election is being stolen but there has been no evidence of fraud.

In Arizona, one of the closely contested states in the too-close-to-call race between Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, Trump and Biden supporters briefly scuffled outside the Maricopa County Elections Department in Phoenix.

Several heavily armed right-wing groups assembled on the site as election workers counted votes inside, but the protests remained mostly peaceful despite mounting tension.

Local election officials continued to tabulate ballots across the country, in some cases processing an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots that accumulated as a preferred voting option during the coronavirus pandemic.

In Philadelphia, police said they arrested one man and seized a weapon as part of an investigation into a purported plot to attack the city’s Pennsylvania Convention Center, where votes were being counted.

But otherwise the scene in Philadelphia was less confrontational – festive, even – where pro-Trump and pro-Biden demonstrators were separated by waist-high portable barriers under a strong police presence.

With the future of the presidency in the balance, restive encounters also unfolded in New York and Washington as well as swing-state cities such as Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Las Vegas, Nevada; Detroit, Michigan; and Atlanta, Georgia.

On the internet, Facebook removed a fast-growing group in which Trump supporters posted violent rhetoric, as it and other social media companies tackled baseless claims and potential violence.

Trump supporters took their cue from the president, who has repeatedly and falsely claimed that mail-in votes are especially prone to fraud.

In Phoenix, Trump supporters briefly chased a man who held up a sign depicting the president as a Nazi pig behind a stage where right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was speaking.

Police intervened and broke up the altercation after the man and his small group of counterdemonstrators were surrounded by Trump activists.

“They are trying to steal the election but America knows what happened and it’s fighting back,” Jones told the throng of some 300 people.

PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM

As mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania cut into Trump’s lead, Philadelphia demonstrators danced. Two people wearing postal box costumes bounced to pulsating music while carrying a banner that read, “The battle isn’t over.” Others, backed by a live drum corps, marched behind the sign, “Union members fight to count every vote.”

Trump activists waved flags and carried signs saying, “Vote stops on Election Day,” and “Sorry, polls are closed.” Biden backers showed their support for the civil servants who were at work inside.

“We can’t allow the ballot counters to be intimidated,” said Bob Posuney, 70, a retired social worker. “We’re not going to create a disturbance, or get anybody hurt.”

In Milwaukee, some 50 Trump supporters gathered for a “Stop the Steal” rally in front of a city building where votes were being counted, blasting country music, waving flags and carrying signs reading “Recount” and “Rigged”.

At least one man had a gun in holster.

Roughly a dozen counter protesters arrived later, shouting “Black lives matter” and “say their names,” referring to victims of police brutality. Others threw eggs at the Trump supporters from a passing car.

“My country’s future is what brings me out here tonight,” said Mitchell Landgraf, a 21-year-old construction worker who cast his first vote in a presidential election for Trump. “I’m afraid if it goes one way that this country will go downhill fast.”

At least 400 protesters gathered outside the Clark County Election Department in Las Vegas. Loud patriotic anthems blared over speakers as people waved giant Trump and American flags.

In Detroit, a Black Trump supporter and a Black Democratic supporter faced off for a yelling match. Earlier, police tried to separate Black Lives Matter-aligned protesters from the Trump group but soon relented, allowing them to mingle and shout at each other.

One woman carrying a holstered pistol she said she represented the Michigan Home Guard, a right-wing militia.

“I’m not going to violently burn the city down, but I’m going to continue to fight for election integrity,” said Michelle Gregoire, 29, in a state where election returns showed Trump with a lead on election night that turned into a Biden victory on Wednesday. “It’s not OK what they’re doing in there.”

(Reporting by Mimi Dwywer in Phoenix, Joseph Tanfani in Philadelphia, Nathan Layne in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Maria Caspani and Jonathan Allen in New York, Katanga Johnson in Atlanta, Brad Brooks in Las Vegas, Gabriella Borter in Milwaukee, Michael Martina in Detroit, Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Peter Graff)

Teenager charged with killing two in Kenosha to fight extradition, lawyer says

By Nathan Layne

(Reuters) – Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager charged with killing two protesters and injuring another during demonstrations about race and justice in Kenosha, Wisconsin, will fight his requested extradition from Illinois, his lawyer told a court hearing on Friday.

Rittenhouse, 17, has been charged by Kenosha County’s district attorney with six crimes for shooting three people who tried to subdue or disarm him during protests on Aug. 25, killing 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, 26.

Rittenhouse participated in the hearing at the Lake County Circuit Court in Illinois via video link from the detention facility where he is being held. He was wearing a black sweatshirt and a gray mask covered his face.

“Good morning, your honor,” he addressed the judge in his only remarks in the hearing, which lasted just a few minutes.

John Pierce, one of Rittenhouse’s lawyers, said he planned to fight the request by Kenosha prosecutors that he be transferred to Wisconsin to face the charges.

“We intend to challenge extradition by writ of habeas corpus,” Pierce said. “And so we would ask that the procedures be put in place whereby extradition documents are in fact sent from Wisconsin so we can review them.”

The teenager had traveled to Kenosha on Aug. 25 from his home in nearby Antioch, Illinois, in a self-appointed role to protect the streets of Kenosha where the police shooting of Jacob Blake had sparked unrest during protests against police brutality and racism.

Rittenhouse’s legal team have said that he feared for his life when he fired his semi-automatic rifle and was acting in self-defense. Cellphone videos from the night show chaotic scenes, including one where Rittenhouse is chased and falls down before his encounter with Huber and another man, Gaige Grosskreutz.

Huber appeared to hit Rittenhouse in the shoulder with a skateboard and tried to grab his rifle before being shot, according to the criminal complaint. Rittenhouse then pointed the rifle at Grosskreutz, who had a hand gun. Grosskreutz was shot but survived.

Rittenhouse’s lawyers have also sought to portray the case as a referendum on the right to bear arms following a summer of sometimes violent protests in major U.S. cities.

“A 17-year-old American citizen is being sacrificed by politicians, but it’s not Kyle Rittenhouse they are after,” the narrator says in a video released this week by a group tied to his legal team. “Their end game is to strip away the constitutional right of all citizens to defend our communities.”

(Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut; Editing by Leslie Adler and Alistair Bell)

Portland police make arrests after protest turns violent

(Reuters) – Several demonstrators were arrested in Portland after they threw rocks and projectiles at police officials, authorities in the U.S. city said.

The police said early on Thursday that demonstrators began a march around 11 p.m. local time, adding that officers closed a street and ordered protesters to not enter the area or risk facing arrest.

“Despite the announcements, the crowd continued to gather on Northeast Emerson Street.” Portland Police said. “Some people in the group threw projectiles such as water bottles and rocks towards officers.”

The police said they made “targeted arrests” without disclosing a figure.

Police said they did not use any crowd control munitions or tear gas.

Demonstrations against racism and police brutality have swept the United States since the death in May of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Portland, in particular, has seen over three months of daily demonstrations calling for policing and social justice reforms. These have at times turned into clashes between demonstrators and officers, as well as between right- and left-wing groups.

One person was shot dead on Saturday as rival groups clashed.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump deployed federal forces to Portland in July to crack down on the protests.

Trump signed a memo on Wednesday that threatens to cut federal funding to “lawless” cities, including Portland.

(Reporting by Ann Maria Shibu and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)