Security forces fire on Myanmar protests after deadliest day since coup

(Reuters) – Myanmar security forces fired on pro-democracy demonstrators on Monday, killing six people, media and witnesses said, a day after dozens of protesters were shot dead and attackers torched several Chinese-financed factories in the city of Yangon.

Supporters of detained democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi marched again, including in the second city of Mandalay and in the central towns of Myingyan and Aunglan, where police opened fire, witnesses and media reported.

“One girl got shot in the head and a boy got shot in the face,” an 18-year-old protester in Myingyan told Reuters by telephone. “I’m now hiding.”

The Myanmar Now media outlet reported three people were killed in Myingyan and two in Aunglan, while a journalist in Mandalay said one person was shot dead there after a big protest had passed off peacefully.

The protesters took to the streets in defiance of the authorities, whose escalating use of violence resulted in dozens being killed on Sunday in the bloodiest day since the Feb. 1 coup that overthrew Suu Kyi.

State broadcaster MRTV reported martial law had been imposed in several districts of Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial hub, and Myanmar Now later reported it had also been imposed in several parts of Mandalay.

Sunday’s arson attacks prompted China’s strongest comments yet on the turmoil gripping its Southeast Asian neighbor, where many people see Beijing as supportive of the coup.

China’s Global Times newspaper said 32 Chinese-invested factories were “vandalized in vicious attacks” that caused damage worth $37 million and injuries to two Chinese employees, while its embassy urged Myanmar’s generals to stop the violence.

“We wish that Myanmar’s authorities can take further relevant and effective measures to guarantee the security of the lives and assets of Chinese companies and personnel,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in Beijing.

Japan, which has long competed for influence in Myanmar with China, said it was monitoring the situation and considering how to respond in terms of economic cooperation.

The worst of Sunday’s bloodshed took place in the Yangon suburb of Hlaingthaya, where security forces killed at least 37 protesters after the factory attacks, said a local doctor, who declined to be identified.

At least 16 people were killed in other places, rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said, as well as one policeman.

The deaths bring the toll from the protests to about 140, based on a tally by the AAPP and the latest reports.

A junta spokesman did not answer calls requesting comment.

In an apparent bid to suppress news of the turmoil, telecoms service providers were ordered to block all mobile data nationwide, two sources with knowledge of the matter said. Telecom Telenor said in a statement “mobile internet was unavailable”.

The army said it took power after its accusations of fraud in a Nov. 8 election won by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) were rejected by the electoral commission. It has promised to hold a new election, but has not set a date.

COURT SESSION POSTPONED

Suu Kyi, 75, has been detained since the coup and faces various charges, including illegally importing walkie-talkie radios and infringing coronavirus protocols. Last week, a charge related to accepting illegal payments was added to the list.

She was due to face another virtual court hearing on Monday but her lawyer, Khin Maung Zaw, told Reuters the session could not go ahead because the internet was down. The next hearing will be on March 24, he said.

Khin Maung Zaw also said authorities had informed him the detained Nobel laureate would only be permitted to be represented by two junior lawyers.

Western countries have called for Suu Kyi’s release and condemned the violence and Asian neighbors have offered to help resolve the crisis, but Myanmar has a long record of rejecting outside intervention.

Tom Andrews, the United Nations human rights investigator on Myanmar, appealed for U.N. member states to cut the supply of cash and weapons to the military.

The International Labor Organization said trade unionists have been arrested and harassed in door-to-door searches while others are in hiding. The International Trade Union Confederation reported widespread restrictions on workers’ rights since the coup.

Anti-China sentiment has risen since the coup, fueled by Beijing’s muted criticism of the takeover compared with Western condemnation. But protest leader Thinzar Shunlei Yi said Myanmar people did not hate their Chinese neighbors though their rulers had to understand the outrage felt over their stand.

“Chinese government must stop supporting coup council if they actually care about Sino-Myanmar relations and to protect their businesses,” she said on Twitter.

Tom Andrews, the United Nations human rights investigator on Myanmar, appealed for U.N. member states to cut the supply of cash and weapons to the military.

The International Labor Organization said trade unionists have been arrested and harassed in door-to-door searches while others are in hiding. The International Trade Union Confederation reported widespread restrictions on workers’ rights since the coup.

(Reporting by Reuters Staff; Writing by Ed Davies and Rob Birsel; Editing by Stephen Coates, Simon Cameron-Moore and Angus MacSwan)

‘We are at war:’ Poles mark Women’s Day after abortion rules tightened

By Alicja Ptak and Joanna Plucinska

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poles took to the streets on Monday to mark International Women’s Day, in demonstrations around the country that took on added significance months after a constitutional court banned almost all abortions.

The October ruling, which took effect in January, unleashed a wave of protests that has morphed into broader anger at the government, particularly among young people. Recent protests have been much smaller, but the ruling party’s ratings in most opinion polls have slipped to around 30% from more than 40% in August.

In Warsaw, several dozen protesters brandishing placards with slogans such as “I am a feminist warrior” gathered in the city center, where they were outnumbered by a heavy police presence.

Previous protests organized by the Women’s Strike movement, which opposes the tightening of restrictions regarding abortion, have been marred by violence, with the police criticized for heavy-handed tactics.

“It is difficult to say anything positive about Women’s Day today. We are at war and all I can hope for is that we will win the war,” Klementyna Suchanow, co-founder of the Women’s Strike told Reuters before the demonstration began.

“Women’s Day in 2021 has a specific flavor,” she said. “After the abortion regulations were tightened, this holiday takes on the significance of a battle, just like in the beginning when it was first established, over a 100 years ago.”

As police formed a cordon around the protestors, speech therapist Aleksandra Gajek, 24, called it an intimidation tactic. “The number of police is intended to scare us and force us to stop fighting for our rights,” she told Reuters.

The police was trying to keep traffic moving, spokesman Sylwester Marczak said by phone. “The actions of the police are determined by the blocking of traffic on one of the most important roundabouts in Warsaw.”

(Reporting by Joanna Plucinska, Alicja Ptak and Kuba Stezycki; Writing by Alan Charlish; Editing by Richard Chang)

Myanmar police break up protests again after bloodiest day since coup

(Reuters) – Police in Myanmar broke up demonstrations in several places with tear gas and gunfire on Thursday as protesters took to the streets again undeterred by the rising death toll in a crackdown on opponents of last month’s military coup.

The incidents followed the bloodiest day since the military overthrew the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb. 1, with the United Nations special envoy for Myanmar saying 38 people had been killed on Wednesday.

The U.N. human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, called on the security forces to halt what she called their “vicious crackdown on peaceful protesters”.

At least 54 people had been killed in total but the actual toll could be much higher, she said. More than 1,700 people had been arrested, including 29 journalists.

“Myanmar’s military must stop murdering and jailing protesters,” Bachelet said in a statement.

A spokesman for the ruling military council did not answer telephone calls seeking comment.

The army seized power alleging fraud in an election won by Suu Kyi’s party last November, although the electoral commission dismissed its claims. It has defended measures to quell protests and said it will not let Myanmar’s stability be threatened.

Activists said they refused to accept military rule and the new elections promised by the junta, voicing determination to press for the release of the detained Suu Kyi, 75, and recognition of her election victory.

“We know that we can always get shot and killed with live bullets but there is no meaning to staying alive under the junta,” activist Maung Saungkha told Reuters.

Police opened fire and used tear gas to break up protests in Yangon and the central town of Monywa, witnesses said. Police also fired in the town of Pathein, west of Yangon, and used tear gas in Taunggyi in the east, media reported.

Big crowds also gathered peacefully for rallies elsewhere, including the second city of Mandalay and in the historic temple town of Bagan, where hundreds marched carrying pictures of Suu Kyi and a banner saying: “Free our leader,” witnesses said.

“EVERYTHING WILL BE OK” PROTESTER MOURNED

Hundreds of people attended the funeral of a 19-year-old woman shot dead in Mandalay on Wednesday, who was photographed wearing a T-shirt that read “Everything will be OK”..

On Wednesday, police and soldiers had opened fire with live rounds with little warning in several cities and towns, witnesses said. The United Nations said at least 38 people were killed.

“Myanmar’s security forces now seem intent on breaking the back of the anti-coup movement through wanton violence and sheer brutality,” said Richard Weir, a researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party said in a statement that flags would fly at half mast at its offices to commemorate the dead.

The U.N. Security Council is due to discuss the situation on Friday in a closed meeting, diplomats said.

The U.S. State Department said Washington was “appalled” by the violence and was evaluating how to respond. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday he was horrified by the escalation of violence and killing of protesters.

The European Union suspended support for development projects to avoid providing financial assistance to the military, officials said on Thursday. The support in past years has involved more than 200 million euros ($240.7 million) in separate programs often running for four years.

Myanmar’s generals have long shrugged off outside pressure.

The U.N. special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, said on Wednesday she had warned deputy military chief Soe Win that the army was likely to face strong measures from some countries over the coup.

“The answer was: ‘We are used to sanctions, and we survived’,” she told reporters in New York. “When I also warned they will go (into) isolation, the answer was: ‘We have to learn to walk with only few friends’.”

The United States has told China, which has declined to condemn the coup, it expects it to play a constructive role. China has said stability is a top priority in its strategic neighbor.

At least 19 Myanmar police officers have crossed over into India, fearing persecution for disobeying orders, a senior Indian police official told Reuters.

(Reporting by Reuters Staff; Writing by Ed Davies, Robert Birsel; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, Stephen Coates and Angus MacSwan)

Supporters of Myanmar military coup rampage in Yangon

(Reuters) – Supporters of Myanmar’s military, some armed with knives and clubs, others firing catapults and throwing stones, attacked opponents of the Feb. 1 coup on Thursday, as protests against the new junta continued in the country’s largest city.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the army seized power and detained civilian government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and much of her party leadership after the military complained of fraud in a November election.

Protests and strikes have taken place daily for about three weeks, and students had planned to come out again in the commercial hub Yangon on Thursday.

But before many coup opponents congregated, about 1,000 supporters of the military turned up for a rally in the city center.

Some threatened news photographers and media workers witnesses said, and scuffles soon escalated into more serious violence in several parts of the city.

Several people were set upon and beaten by groups of men, some armed with knives, others firing catapults and hurling stones, witnesses said. At least two people were stabbed, video footage showed.

In one incident, several men, one wielding a large knife, attacked a man outside a city-center hotel. Emergency workers helped the bloodied man after his attackers moved off but his condition was not known.

“Today’s events show who the terrorists are. They’re afraid of the people’s action for democracy,” activist Thin Zar Shun Lei Yi told Reuters.

“We’ll continue our peaceful protests against dictatorship.”

As dusk fell, dozens of riot police fired tear gas into a neighborhood in the city to disperse a crowd that had gathered at an administrative office to protest the appointment of a local official by the junta, according to a witness and live-streamed video.

The violence will compound worries about a country largely paralyzed by the protests and a civil disobedience campaign of strikes against the military.

Earlier, police blocked the gates of Yangon’s main university campus, stopping hundreds of students inside from coming out to demonstrate.

Facebook said that due to the risks evident from the “deadly violence” seen since the coup it had banned the Myanmar military from using its Facebook and Instagram platforms.

The spokesman for the ruling military council did not respond to a telephone call seeking comment.

Military chief General Min Aung Hlaing says authorities are using minimal force. Nevertheless, three protesters and one policeman have been killed in violence.

‘ABETTORS’

The United States, Britain and others have called for Suu Kyi’s release and the restoration of democracy and have imposed limited sanctions aimed at members of the junta and its business links.

The British Foreign Office said on Thursday it would sanction a further six military figures, adding to 19 previously listed and including Min Aung Hlaing, and that the trade ministry would work to ensure British businesses do not deal with Myanmar’s military-owned companies.

“Today’s package of measures sends a clear message to the military regime in Myanmar that those responsible for human rights violations will be held to account, and the authorities must hand back control to a government elected by the people of Myanmar,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.

A rights group said as of Wednesday 728 people had been arrested, charged or sentenced in relation to the pro-democracy protests.

The army said its overthrow of the government was within the constitution after its complaints of fraud in the Nov. 8 election, swept by Suu Kyi’s party as expected, had been ignored. The election commission said the vote was fair.

The army has promised a new election after reviewing voter lists. It has not given a date but it imposed a one-year state of emergency when it seized power.

Suu Kyi has been detained incommunicado at her home in the capital Naypyitaw but her party says its November victory must be respected.

Veteran democracy activist Min Ko Naing said the military’s efforts to arrange to an election re-run, which include a new election commission, had to be stopped and any parties involved in it were “abettors”.

“We have to reject the actions of the military government to try to legitimize itself,” he said in a post on Facebook.

The question of a new election is at the center of a diplomatic effort by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Myanmar is a member, aimed at easing the crisis.

Indonesia has taken the lead in the attempt and its foreign minister, Retno Marsudi, met her military-appointed Myanmar counterpart, Wunna Maung Lwin, for talks in Thailand on Wednesday.

But Indonesia’s intervention has raised suspicion among coup opponents who fear it will confer legitimacy on the junta and its bid to scrap the November vote and arrange a re-run.

Retno did not mention an election in comments to reporters after her talks but emphasized “an inclusive democratic transition process.”

A Reuters report this week cited sources as saying Indonesia was proposing that ASEAN members send monitors to ensure the generals stick to their promise of fair elections, which would imply accepting the November result was void.

Protesters gathered outside the Thai embassy in Yangon on Thursday chanting “respect our vote”.

(Reporting by Reuters Staff; Writing by Ed Davies and Rob Birsel; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Indian govt offers to suspend farm reforms; farmers may call off protests

By Mayank Bhardwaj

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s government on Wednesday offered to suspend implementation of three new farm laws that have triggered the biggest farmers’ protests in years, which farm union leaders said they would now consider calling off.

The cornerstone of the reform, introduced in September, allows private buyers to deal directly with farmers.

Angry farmers, who say that will make India’s traditional wholesale markets irrelevant and leave them at the mercy of big retailers and food processors, have camped out on major highways outside New Delhi for more than two months.

Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the government was open to suspending the laws for up to 18 months, during which time representatives of the government and farmers should work to “provide solutions” for the industry.

Bilateral talks have so far failed to break the deadlock – landing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with one of his most significant challenges since he was re-elected in 2019.

The next round of talks is due on Friday, and farm leader Dharmendra Malik said the unions would let the government know then if they would accept the offer and call off the protests.

The government was “sympathetic to farmers’ concerns and is trying to end the stalemate,” it said in a government, thanking them for maintaining “peace and discipline” during the protests.

Farmers plan a tractor rally through New Delhi on Jan 26, India’s Republic Day, which the Supreme Court on Wednesday declined a government petition to ban.

(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; additional reporting by Suchitra Mohanty and Nigam Prusty; editing by John Stonestreet)

Kenosha preparing for protests when charging decision comes on Jacob Blake’s shooting

(Reuters) – The city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, is making preparations for demonstrations when a charging decision comes over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, authorities said on Sunday.

Kenosha saw civil unrest and large demonstrations against racism and police brutality in August after police shot Blake, an African-American man, who was left paralyzed from the waist down.

The decision is likely to come within the first two weeks of January, Mayor John Antaramian and Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said in a statement.

Efforts from authorities will include designating a demonstration space, limiting city bus routes, imposing curfews, and closing off roads and other areas, according to the statement.

“Mayor Antaramian has been informed that the decision is likely to be announced within the first two weeks of January and is working with Chief Miskinis and other partners to protect peaceful demonstration and to guard against unlawful activity”, authorities said on Sunday.

Blake was shot several times in the back and the incident, which was caught on video, sparked days of protests.

Two protesters were fatally shot during the unrest, with teenager Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch, Illinois, being charged in connection with the shootings.

Blake’s shooting came about three months after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Floyd’s death sparked anti-racism protests across the United States and the rest of the world.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra)

New York police lacked training, used excessive force during summer protests, city investigation finds

By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The New York Police Department used excessive force during the wave of protests across the city this summer against police brutality and racism, according to a report published on Friday morning by New York City’s Department of Investigation.

Mayor Bill de Blasio asked for the investigation in May as social media became deluged with cellphone videos showing police officers dousing protesters, elected officials and journalists with chemical irritants, shoving and hitting them while they struggled on the ground and, in one instance, driving police vehicles into them.

The report said the NYPD’s response was excessive in part because most police officers involved had not received “relevant training” in policing protests.

“The NYPD’s use of force and certain crowd control tactics to respond to the Floyd protests produced excessive enforcement that contributed to heightened tensions,” the Department of Investigation said in the executive summary of its 111-page report.

The daily New York City protests were a prominent part of what quickly became a nationwide and international movement prompted in part by anger over George Floyd, a Black man killed by a white Minneapolis police officer, and Breonna Taylor, a Black woman killed in her Louisville home by white police officers during a botched raid.

De Blasio, who repeatedly defended his police department’s conduct during the protests, said he agreed with the report’s findings.

“It makes very clear we’ve got to do something different, and we’ve got to do something better,” he said in a video statement released by City Hall.

The report concluded that the city’s unusual system of three distinct, sometimes overlapping agencies conducting oversight of the police department had caused problems. It recommended that the city create a single independent police oversight agency.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea in a statement called the summer a “difficult period” and thanked the Department of Investigation for “20 logical and thoughtful recommendations that I intend to incorporate into our future policy and training.”

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

In cities across U.S., dueling protests sprout up as vote-counting drags on

By Nathan Layne, Maria Caspani and Katanga Johnson

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) – A second day of sometimes dueling demonstrations over the integrity of the U.S. presidential election started early on Thursday in Philadelphia and other cities as ballot counting dragged on in a handful of states that would decide the outcome.

Some groups, mainly Democrats, rallied around the slogan to “count every vote,” believing a complete tally would show former Vice President Joe Biden had beaten Republican President Donald Trump.

Ardent Trump supporters countered with cries to “protect the vote” in support of his campaign’s efforts to have some categories of ballots, including some votes submitted by mail, discarded.

Both factions appeared outside a vote-counting center in Philadelphia on Thursday morning. A group of Trump supporters holding Trump-Pence flags and signs saying “vote stops on Election Day” gathered across the street from Biden supporters who danced to music behind a barricade. Similar rallies were planned later in the day in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capital.

Scott Presler, a pro-Trump activist, said he organized the “Stop the Steal” rally in Harrisburg to ensure that only legal ballots are counted.

“I want to bring national attention for people to take action, for them to call their state legislators,” Presler said in a phone interview while en route to Harrisburg. “I want them to demonstrate and show up in force, that we are not going to allow this election to be stolen by any fraudulent ballots.”

In Washington, a procession of cars and bicycles, sponsored by activists from a group called Shutdown DC, paraded slowly through the streets of the capital to protest “an attack on the democratic process” by Trump and his “enablers,” according to its website.

Most demonstrations in cities around the country have been peaceful and small — sometimes amounting only to a few dozen people with signs standing in a city center — as Biden’s path to victory looks a bit more assured than Trump’s, even though either outcome remains possible.

On Wednesday, a few demonstrations led to clashes with police. The demonstrations were triggered in part by Trump’s comments following Tuesday’s Election Day in which he demanded that vote counting stop and made unsubstantiated, conspiratorial claims about voter fraud.

Police in New York City, Denver, Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon, all reported they had arrested some protesters, often on charges of blocking traffic or similar misdemeanors.

On the second floor of Atlanta’s State Farm Arena, county election officials sat at six tables steadily processing a few thousand remaining mail-in ballots on Thursday morning, some pausing only to order coffee.

Some Republican and Democratic ballot-counting watchers took notes as officials sorted each batch of 400 ballots one by one, ensuring signatures matched between envelopes and ballots.

Hoping to avoid Election Day crowds during the coronavirus pandemic, more than 100 million Americans submitted ballots during early voting this year, a record-breaking number.

The counting in Atlanta was far calmer than in Phoenix where a crowd of Trump supporters, some armed with rifles and handguns, gathered outside a counting center on Wednesday after unsubstantiated rumors that Trump votes were deliberately not being counted.

(Reporting by Nathan Layne in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Maria Caspani in New York; Katanga Johnson in Atlanta; Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and Michael Martina in Detroit; Writing by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, Peter Graff and Jonathan Oatis)

Uncertain U.S. election outcome opens way for protests

By Michael Martina and Heather Timmons

DETROIT (Reuters) – After months of protests about racism and police brutality, the United States is now likely to see street demonstrations over the cliffhanger presidential election, after President Donald Trump falsely claimed victory and called for voting to stop.

About 100 people gathered for an interfaith event before a planned march through downtown Detroit, in the battleground state of Michigan, on Wednesday morning to demand a full vote count and what they called a peaceful transition of power.

The protest flyer called people to action to stop Trump from “stealing the election.”

Democrat-leaning activists were planning “protect the vote” rallies around Michigan on Wednesday afternoon, including one in front of the state capitol in Lansing.

“The message is that Michigan is fighting back and every vote must be counted,” said Kenny Williams Jr., a spokesman for Detroit Action, one of the groups organizing the Detroit event. “We understand that Republicans will likely try every trick in the book to win this election. But we are making our voices heard in saying that every vote must be counted.”

The excruciatingly close election hung in the balance, with a handful of closely contested states set to decide the outcome in the coming hours or days.

Trump falsely claimed victory in the early hours of the morning and made unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud in an extraordinary attack on the electoral process.

Michigan is still counting tens of thousands of ballots and expects to have an unofficial tally by the end of the day, the state’s secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, told reporters.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden is narrowly leading Republican Trump with about 96% of the votes tallied in Michigan, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Trump’s remarks were the sort of call that protest organizers had planned for. The “Protect the Results” coalition of over 130 groups, from Planned Parenthood to Republicans for the Rule of Law, has said it had about 500 protests organized around the country.

“There were two criteria that were out there: One is Trump officially trying to block the counting of votes and other was falsely declaring that he won, and he did both last night,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group that supports left-wing Democrats running for office.

Fears of violence on Tuesday did not materialize as Americans turned out by the millions to vote. There were only a handful of incidents reported on an otherwise tranquil Election Day.

The concerns about possible unrest were heightened after a summer of protests, some of which turned violent, against racial injustice following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

(Reporting by Michael Martina in Detroit and Heather Timmons in Washington; Writing by Jonathan Allen and Frank McGurty; Editing by Alistair Bell)

New York police arrest 30 amid protests after deadly Philadelphia shooting

By Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) – New York police arrested about 30 people as hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Brooklyn late on Tuesday following a deadly police shooting in Philadelphia of a Black man armed with a knife.

“Approximately 30 people have been arrested,” a New York Police Department spokesman told Reuters by phone, without detailing the reason for the arrests.

He added that one NYPD officer suffered “non-life threatening” injuries during the late night protests. Police also said that their vehicles were damaged and some trash cans were set on fire in the demonstrations.

NBC News reported that a car attempted to drive through a group of police officials in Brooklyn.

The development in New York City came after the deadly Philadelphia police shooting on Monday of Walter Wallace, 27, who was described by relatives as suffering from a mental breakdown as he was confronted by law enforcement.

It follows months of anti-racism protests that have spread across the United States since the death in May of George Floyd, an African-American who died after a Minneapolis police official knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The protests, which have sometimes turned violent, have aimed at achieving racial equality and opposing police brutality.

Philadelphia became the latest flash point in the United States on issues of race and police use of force, as Tuesday’s rallies began peacefully but grew confrontational as darkness fell, just as on the previous day.

A bystander’s video of the shooting of Wallace was posted on social media on Monday and showed him approaching two police officers who had drawn their guns and warned him to put down his knife. The officers were backing up before the camera cut briefly away as gunfire erupted and Wallace collapsed.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh, Editing by William Maclean)