Thursday February 21, 2019
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Emergency declared in Missouri county in US after shooting

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Washington: A state of emergency was declared in a Missouri county as protesters turned violent after police shot and critically injured one man on Sunday, the anniversary of the killing of an unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

racinecountyedc.org
Photo Credit: racinecountyedc.org

“The recent acts of violence will not be tolerated in a community that has worked so tirelessly over the last year to rebuild and become stronger,” St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said in a statement on Monday.

Overnight unrest in Ferguson, a small town of 22,000, nearly 70 percent of them black, with all but four of its 53 strong police force white, created “the potential for harm to persons and property,” the statement said.

The order came as roughly 200 demonstrators marched from Christ Church Cathedral to the Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse in St. Louis.

The protesters carried signs, chanted and prayed and demanded the Justice Department take action, according to CNN affiliate KTVI.

At the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis, protesters hung a banner from two balloons. It read, “Racism still lives here #fightback.”

Police arrested 56 people at the courthouse demonstration, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Schron Jackson told CNN.

Later on Monday, another group of protesters blocked part of a highway in Earth City, Missouri. Some of them held yellow signs that said, “Ferguson is everywhere.”

Monday’s planned acts of civil disobedience came after a night of violence that left Ferguson on edge.

Peaceful marches in the St. Louis suburb planned on Sunday were shattered that same night when gunfire broke out, sending protesters and police scattering to safety.

The alleged gunman, 18-year-old Tyrone Harris of St. Louis, is hospitalized in critical condition and in police custody.

Harris’ aunt, Karen Harris, said her nephew attended the protests because he was friends with Brown.

Recounting what other family members who were with Tyrone Harris described, the aunt said Tyrone Harris wasn’t carrying a gun and never fired at police.

He was “running for his life” just like everyone else, she said, when the gunshots were fired.

Brown’s killing on Aug 9, 2014 by White police Officer Darren Wilson sparked outrage and protests nationwide against what some described as racial bias by the police.

(IANS)

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US Military Planes Deliver Aid to Venezuela-Colombia Border

The aid will be delivered to Cucuta, Colombia, where other food and medical supplies are being held.

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FILE - Demonstrators who are against the Venezuelan government chant outside of the Organization of American States during the special meeting of the Permanent Council, in Washington, April 3, 2017, to consider the recent events in Venezuela. VOA

More than 200 tons of US humanitarian aid intended for Venezuela is scheduled to begin arriving just across the border in Colombia Saturday, delivered by US military cargo planes.

The aid will be delivered to Cucuta, Colombia, where other food and medical supplies are being held.

The aid comes at the request of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido to ease shortages of food and other essentials in economically troubled Venezuela.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said the aid is part of Washington’s political maneuvering to get him out of office, and he has blocked off a bridge needed to bring the supplies into Venezuela.

The United States said Maduro’s election was unfair and illegitimate, and U.S. officials and scores of other nations have recognized his rival, Guaido, as the country’s interim leader.

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Sacks containing humanitarian aid are pictured at a warehouse near the Tienditas cross-border bridge between Colombia and Venezuela in Cucuta, Colombia, Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

Adding pressure

On Friday, Washington added to the political pressure on Maduro by sanctioning the head of Venezuela’s oil company as well as top intelligence officials.

Earlier Friday, Guiado’s representatives collected aid pledges from many nations at a meeting of the Organization of American States in Washington, where 25 countries promised more than $100 million in humanitarian aid to Venezuela.

“We came to ask for the solidarity of the governments of the world,” said Lester Toledo, coordinator for international help for Venezuela. “We appreciate the diplomatic gestures. We appreciate the letters and the recognition of President Guaidó. But we ask for help, to make the humanitarian aid a reality. That all donations can let us purchase medical supplies that we really need.”

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If the aid does arrive in Venezuela, organizations like the Red Cross will help distribute the supplies with “neutral and independent” conditions, Mario Villarroel, president of Venezuela’s Red Cross, said. Pixabay

Distributing the aid

U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States Carlos Trujillo said Guaidó has a plan.

“I believe that President Guaidó has done everything possible to make Maduro accept the humanitarian aid. Maduro has no argument, the person sitting in power doesn’t let the humanitarian aid reach his people who are dying of hunger,” Trujillo said.

Guaido said the aid will be brought into Venezuela Feb. 23.

Maduro, however, said the aid will not be brought into his nation, and he blames U.S. economic sanctions for Venezuela’s problems.

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“They’re putting pressure on Venezuela’s banks, which are in charge of purchasing and bringing the food and supplies. The White House is pressuring so that none of our bank accounts work. They have frozen billions of dollars that could otherwise buy food and medicine,” he claimed.

If the aid does arrive in Venezuela, organizations like the Red Cross will help distribute the supplies with “neutral and independent” conditions, Mario Villarroel, president of Venezuela’s Red Cross, said.

“We have the necessary experience, we know it is a very complex issue, but we will do our best to coordinate the distribution and organization of this humanitarian aid,” he said. (VOA)