Catalonia braces for protests as separatist leaders held

BARCELONA, Spain (AFP) — Catalonia braced for protests Tuesday after a judge ordered the detention of two powerful separatist leaders, further inflaming tensions in the crisis over the Spanish region’s chaotic independence referendum.

The National Court in Madrid moved late Monday to keep Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez behind bars on sedition charges, prompting hundreds of their supporters to take to the streets of Barcelona overnight in protest.

“Unfortunately, we have political prisoners again,” tweeted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, whose standoff with the central government has shaken stock markets and sent ripples of anxiety through the European Union.

Cuixart and Sanchez are the leaders pro-independence citizens’ groups Omnium Cultural and the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) respectively, both of which count tens of thousands of members in the wealthy northeastern region and have emerged as influential players in the crisis.

Omnium and the ANC called on workers across Catalonia to briefly down tools at noon in protest against the jailing of the pair nicknamed the “two Jordis,” with a candle-lit protest in central Barcelona due at 8:00 p.m.

Further protests were due in the afternoon in front of Spanish central government offices in four provincial Catalan capitals — Tarragona, Lleida, Gerona and Barcelona.

“If you’re watching this video, it’s because the state has decided to deny me my freedom,” Cuixart said in a message recorded before the court decision, adding that his organization would work “underground” if necessary.

He and Sanchez are accused of encouraging a major protest last month as Spanish police raided Catalan regional government offices in the run-up to the banned independence referendum on October 1.

Police officers were trapped for hours and their vehicles vandalized as protesters ringed the building, with Cuixart and Sanchez standing atop a police car calling for “permanent mobilization” against the Spanish state.

The crime of sedition can carry up to 15 years in prison.

Catalan police chief Josep Lluis Trapero, charged with the same offense, has been allowed to walk free but is banned from leaving Spain.

Enric Millo, the government’s representative in Barcelona, insisted that the judge’s decision had been made independently.

“There is a separation of powers here,” he told Catalunya Radio.

Economy takes a hit

Tuesday’s protests come as the central government and Puigdemont’s separatist regional administration fail to break the deadlock in Spain’s worst political crisis since it returned to democracy in 1977 following the death of dictator Francisco Franco.

Madrid had ordered Puigdemont to clarify by Monday whether he was declaring independence following the referendum, which resulted in a 90 percent Yes vote — although turnout was only 43 percent as many supporters of Spanish unity stayed away.

Puigdemont, however, stopped short of giving a definitive response and instead repeated his call for talks with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy — who gave the Catalan leader three days to “return to legality” or face the consequences.

Anything less than a full climb-down from Puigdemont is likely to prompt moves by the central government to impose unprecedented direct control over the semi-autonomous region — the so-called “nuclear option.”

Madrid and its EU partners are worried that the prolonged uncertainty is damaging Spain’s economy as it emerges from the financial crisis.

The government announced late Monday that it was cutting its growth forecast for next year from 2.6 percent to 2.3% — partly over the standoff in Catalonia, which makes up about a fifth of Spain’s economic output.

Nearly 700 companies have moved their legal headquarters to other parts of Spain since the referendum, according to official figures, while ratings agency Standard and Poor’s has warned of a recession in the wealthy region if the crisis drags on.

With its own language and culture, Catalonia is proud of its autonomy but its 7.5 million people are deeply divided over whether to break definitively from the rest of Spain.

Supporters of independence say the region pays more into Spanish coffers than it gets back and could prosper by going it alone, but their opponents say secession would spell political and economic disaster.


Far-right politician sparks protests at Frankfurt book fair

FRANKFURT, Germany — The presence of a leading member of Germany’s far-right AfD party at the Frankfurt book fair triggered protests on Saturday, with police intervening to separate rival demonstrators.

Several dozen leftist protesters shouted “Nazis out” while counter-demonstrators responded with “Everyone hates Antifa” (the anti-fascist movement), the DPA news agency reported.

The protests were sparked by leading AfD member Bjoern Hoecke’s visit to the annual fair to attend an event by the hard-right publishing house Antaios.

Elsewhere at the trade show, a reading by two right-wing authors had to be canceled because it was drowned out by protesters, DPA said.

The tumult comes just three weeks after the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) won its first seats in the federal parliament after taking nearly 13 percent of the votes in a national election.

Hoecke is one of the AfD’s most divisive figures. He made headlines earlier this year when he said Germany should stop atoning for its guilt over World War II.

Organizers of the book fair, the world’s largest publishing event, issued a statement condemning “the targeted provocations” between “left- and right-wing groupings.”

“The Frankfurt book fair thrives on diversity of opinion and is a space for free dialogue,” it said.

The presence of far-right publishers at this year’s fair has been controversial, with critics accusing organizers of giving a platform to rabble-rousers.

The small publisher Antaios, which describes itself as “new right,” earlier this week complained that some of its books were stolen and others smeared with toothpaste and coffee in apparent protest actions.

The publishing house is behind the bestselling book “Finis Germania,” Latin for “The End of Germany,” which news weekly Der Spiegel described as “extremely right-wing, anti-Semitic and historically revisionist.”

How to make money from the NFL’s ratings debacle as anthem protests grow

NFL ratings are struggling right now, as President Donald Trump continues to stoke the flames of a red-hot debate over national anthem protests, while the actual on-field product has also left something to be desired.

But fear not, football fans — JPMorgan knows how you can make a pretty penny off the league’s woes.

It involves making a short-term bet that shares of CBS will drop. The most-watched US television network and home to multiple games a week, CBS serves as a bellwether of sorts for NFL viewership.

JPMorgan specifically recommends purchasing weekly put contracts that will start making money if CBS shares decline roughly 1% to $57.50 by expiration on October 6.

While it’s still too early to know if Trump’s inflammatory comments and the defiant league-wide response will have a material impact on ratings, this week’s upcoming slate of games could provide a much better idea. As such, JPMorgan figures it can’t hurt to be prepared in the event of a major downswing.

“Any potential NFL boycott is more likely to be determined in this weekend’s results,” Shawn Quigg, an equity derivatives strategist at JPMorgan, wrote in a client note. “Investors likely could cite the anthem debate for any weak viewership results, adding to existing viewership concerns. Thus, the greater reward-risk appears skewed to the downside in the near-term as weaker results may mobilize investors to take the potential impact more seriously.”

For an example of how quickly NFL dynamics have shifted since protests have gotten more widespread, JPMorgan cites the spike in jersey sales for Pittsburgh Steeler offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva. He was the only Steeler on the field for the national anthem this past Sunday, and the firm says that may suggest fans favor it when players stand for the anthem.

While that’s certainly a lot to extrapolate from one instance, making JPMorgan’s suggested options wager could pay off even if ratings decline for other reasons. After all, even before the number of protests grew this past week, there were already worries that declining viewershipcould hamper future profitability for NFL TV partners.

CBS shares rose 0.6% to $58.35 at 2:29 pm EST.

Cowboys and Cardinals lock arms in anthem protests


(CNN) The Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals on Monday night locked arms with teammates in response to President Donald Trump’s caustic comments. But it was the scripture reference on the hand of the woman belting out the National Anthem that resonated with many.

The scripture, written on the hand of pop star Jordin Sparks, is Proverbs 31: 8-9: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Many took to social media to praise Sparks.
The Cowboys’ and Cardinals’ display came after a weekend in which Trump slammed the National Football League and players for protesting during the anthem. Players and coaches responded Sunday by kneeling, locking arms or remaining in the locker room during pregame performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Members of the Cowboys and Cardinals stood in separate locations for the anthem. The teams had talked about a collective display of unity but did not do so, said ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters. No member of either team was shown in the televised broadcast kneeling or sitting.
Before Sparks’ rendition, the Cowboys, including owner Jerry Jones, knelt in the middle of the field. Boos could be heard from the crowd in Glendale, Arizona.
The players’ demonstration was intended as a statement for equality and a representation of unity, but they wanted to separate that message from the National Anthem, according to Salters, who spoke with Jones’ daughter, Charlotte Jones Anderson, the Cowboys’ executive vice president.
As the Cardinals players, coaches and owners gathered in the end zone, arms locked, to honor the flag and members of the armed forces, public address announcer Jim Barnett invited the crowd to “unite as well and do the same with your fellow fans, regardless of jersey color.”

‘An individual right of an American’

Earlier, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said it’s up to players to decide whether to stand or kneel during the anthem. “That is an individual right of an American,” he said.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was reticent when questioned by reporters.
“We have an approach that we believe in, and no real comment beyond that,” he said.
Ravens, Jaguars kneel during national anthem

Ravens, Jaguars kneel during national anthem 00:40
They kept grilling him. Will the players do anything? Has there been a discussion?
“No,” Garrett said, drawing an awkward silence as reporters waited for him to elaborate. He didn’t.
Another journalist asked: Did Garrett not have an opinion on the protests, or was he simply reluctant to share it?
“I just don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interests for me to comment on that,” he said.
With that, the press conference moved on to football matters. It’s worth noting though that the man who signs Garrett’s paychecks has been vocal about the anthem protests.
Last year, when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick saw only a modicum of support for the anthem protests he’s pioneered, Cowboys owner Jones told a Fort Worth radio station that such demonstrations were “really disappointing.”
Jones reiterated those sentiments last week, telling Fox Business that the pregame National Anthem wasn’t the time for players to express themselves in society.
“That’s not the place to do anything other than honor the flag and everybody that’s given up a little for it,” he said.

‘Most reputable men I’ve ever met’

Trump responds after a day of NFL protests

Trump responds after a day of NFL protests 01:02
Cowboys players, in their public statements, have largely trod the middle ground on the issue, while at least two Cardinals declined to rule out the possibility of protesting.
Arians has said he concurs with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who called Trump’s remarks divisive and said they demonstrate “an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL” and its players.
“I’ve been in locker rooms for 25 years, and some of the most reputable men I’ve ever met wear that uniform,” Arians said. “To even overcome the things in their life to get to the NFL is amazing. What they’ve done in the last month for hurricane relief victims speaks volumes of what we’re all about in the NFL.”
Offensive lineman D.J. Humphries was less diplomatic, declining to call Trump by his name.
“You can’t talk to that person,” he said. “You’re talking to a wall. You may as well talk to my locker because you’re going to get the same response … I hate that this happened. I’m just trying to figure a way that I can help my people, and help the people on this side of the spectrum understand right and wrong.”
Humphries echoed the words of defensive end Frostee Rucker, who said now is the time to come together and “show compassion, love and everything else we do.”
“It’s a brotherhood in the locker room. We’re out in the community, and we know ourselves. We know everything we’re about. We can’t let one single person, even though it’s the President, dictate how we feel. We stick together. We’re in a union. If someone takes a knee, it’s almost like we all take a knee.”

Trump: Players should not ‘disrespect’ flag

NFL fans split over anthem controversy

NFL fans split over anthem controversy 01:40
The latest chapter in the controversy came Friday night when Trump told those attending a political rally in Alabama that NFL owners should fire any “son of a bitch” who stages a protest during the National Anthem.
The President’s focus remained on sports Saturday morning, as he tweeted he was rescinding a White House invitation for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors because two-time league MVP Steph Curry was “hesitating” in accepting the presidential offer. (Curry actually had flat-out declined the invitation.)
Hours later, the President went back in on athletes following in the knee prints of Kaepernick, who has said he refuses to stand during the anthem because he cannot “show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
Read Trump’s two-part tweet: “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”
Trump went on to make the protests his cause du jour — or more accurately, de deux jours — as 15 of his next 23 tweets over the weekend addressed the demonstrations.
His stance gained traction among his base and some NFL fans, who took to social media to tell athletes to stick to sports and skip the politics. Others used hashtags such #standforouranthem and #standfortheflag, tweeting that they were going to follow Trump’s advice to tune out.

‘That offends everybody’

Rex Ryan Trump NFL pissed orig vstan dlewis_00003104

Ex-NFL coach who backed Trump: ‘I’m pissed’ 01:02
Within the NFL there was a starkly different response, which was also reflected on social media and in some fan bases. Trump’s criticism seemed to galvanize the league’s players and coaches.
In some cases, team owners showed up on the sideline to lock arms with their players. Trump supporter Shad Khan, who owns the Jacksonville Jaguars, was one of them. Trump friend Robert Kraft stood in the owners box, hand over heart, before his New England Patriots played, but he said he was “deeply disappointed” in Trump’s remarks.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees called Trump’s remarks “unbecoming of the office of the President,” while Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy said the President “is just acting like a jerk.”
Miami Dolphins safety Mike Thomas asked, “You’re the leader of the free world, and this is what you’re talking about?”
No. 55 Terrell Suggs and Baltimore Ravens legend Ray Lewis, in suit, kneel before Sunday's game.

The Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans followed the Steelers’ lead, staying in the locker room for the anthem. Most teams chose to lock arms in a show of unity, but even among those squads, some players opted to kneel. The Baltimore Ravens’ Terrell Suggs and the Denver Broncos’ Von Miller lent their considerable star power to the protests, kneeling along with dozens of others players.
Bob Costas on NFL protests (full interview)

Bob Costas on NFL protests (full interview) 15:01
Sports commentator Bob Costas told CNN on Monday the response among players and coaches was “universal” and said, “There’s almost no one in the NFL who wants to support or rationalize the tone or content of President Trump’s remarks.”
Asked why he felt Trump’s words united the league when the protests have been going on for more than a year, Costas compared the President’s remarks on the anthem protests to his words after white nationalists marched in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Well, when you call people sons of bitches across the board, that offends everybody. White and black, they’ve stood shoulder to shoulder on those fields, in those locker rooms. What kind of a statement is that to make?” Costas said.
“And I don’t think it’s irrelevant that clearly the President had more passion and conviction for those remarks than he did — when he finally got around after equivocating — to distancing himself to some extent from white nationalists and neo-Nazis. He clearly had more fervor for this than for that.”

Despite protests, State Department says it will return trove of Jewish artifacts to Iraq

NEW YORK (JTA) — The United States will return to Iraq next year a trove of Iraqi Jewish artifacts that lawmakers and Jewish groups have lobbied to keep in this country, a State Department official said.

A four-year extension to keep the Iraqi Jewish Archive in the U.S. is set to expire in September 2018, as is funding for maintaining and transporting the items. The materials will then be sent back to Iraq, spokesman Pablo Rodriguez said in a statement sent to JTA on Thursday.

Rodriguez said the State Department “is keenly aware of the interest in the status” of the archive.

“Maintaining the archive outside of Iraq is possible,” he said, “but would require a new agreement between the Government of Iraq and a temporary host institution or government.”

The archive was brought to America in 2003 after being salvaged by U.S. troops. It contains tens of thousands of items including books, religious texts, photographs and personal documents. Under an agreement with the government of Iraq, the archive was to be sent back there, but in 2014 the Iraqi ambassador to the U.S. said its stay had been extended. He did not say when the archive was to return.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers and Jewish groups have lobbied to renegotiate the deal, arguing that the documents should be kept in the U.S. or elsewhere where they are accessible to Iraqi Jews and their descendants. JTA reached out to lawmakers who have sponsored resolutions urging a renegotiation of the archive’s return but did not hear back in time for publication.

Iraq and proponents of returning the archive say it can serve as an educational tool for Iraqis about the history of Jews there and that it is part of the country’s patrimony.

In 2003, U.S. troops found the archive, much of it waterlogged, in the basement of the Iraqi secret services headquarters in Baghdad. Under Saddam Hussein’s reign, Iraq had looted many of the artifacts after the dictator drove the Jewish community out of the country amid intense persecution.

In the U.S., the artifacts were restored, digitalized and exhibited under the auspices of the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

Rodriguez was asked how appropriate treatment of the archive will be ensured.

“When the IJA is returned, the State Department will urge the Iraqi government to take the proper steps necessary to preserve the archive, and to make it available to members of the public to enjoy,” he said in the statement.

The archive is set to be exhibited at the Jewish Museum of Maryland Oct. 15-Jan. 15. The exhibit page says the items include a Hebrew Bible with commentaries from 1568, a Babylonian Talmud from 1793 and an 1815 version of the Zohar, a Jewish mystical text.

“At this point, we have no new information for you about additional venues,” Miriam Kleiman, program director for public affairs at the National Archives, told JTA in an email on Friday.

Groups representing Jews from Iraq decried the return date.

“There is no justification in sending the Jewish archives back to Iraq, a country that has virtually no Jews and no accessibility to Jewish scholars or the descendants of Iraqi Jews,” Gina Waldman, founder and president of Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, said Friday in a statement to JTA. “The U.S. government must ensure that the Iraqi archives are returned to its rightful owners, the exiled Iraqi Jewish community,”

Stanley Urman, executive vice president for Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, echoed Waldman in saying there was no justification for sending back the archive.

“This is Jewish communal property. Iraq stole it and kept it hidden away in a basement. Now that we’ve managed to reclaim it, it would be like returning stolen goods back to the thief,” Urman told JTA on Friday.

Rabbi Andrew Baker, director of international Jewish affairs at the American Jewish Committee, emphasized that the agreement had always been that the archive would be returned.

“Certainly if there are more venues or museums that might wish to host this exhibition, that could be another reason for further deferring returning it to Iraq,” he told JTA on Friday.

Baker said the fact that materials have been digitalized ensures access to the archive no matter where it is physically located.

“Frankly, I would hope that while the position of the State Department is as been said, and a date has been given, that there can be and hopefully will be further understanding or agreements that might be reached even informally that would lead to further deferral of any actual return of the archive,” he said.

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the archive should remain wherever it is most accessible to the public.

“The Iraqi Jewish community endured for millennia, and the Iraqi Jewish Archive is an important collection of cultural records testifying to their presence in that historic land. It should be accessible to anyone. If that goal is best achieved by the archive remaining in the United States, then that’s what we should do.”

Marc Lubin, a government relations consultant who has worked on the issue, was critical of the agreement with the Iraqi government to return the archive.

“The Iraqi Jewish Archives case lifts the curtain and exposes the reality that the United States has entered into a number of agreements, in name of deterring looting, that in fact endorse foreign government claims on the property of Jews and other individuals and religious minorities,” he told JTA in an email. “These provisions violate American principles and need to be rolled back.”

2,000 turn out as protests against Netanyahu resume near AG’s home

Some 2,000 people protested near Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s home on Saturday evening, after the High Court of Justice ruled that the weekly protests calling for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be indicted in a pair of corruption investigations could resume.

The court ruling, which came after police blocked last week’s protest and arrested two of its leaders, limited the number of demonstrators to just 500, but police estimates and other reports put the figure at 2,000. Police blocked would-be demonstrators to try to limit the numbers, and hundreds demonstrated in nearby streets.

Likud coalition chairman David Bitan said the size of the demonstration constituted “a gross violation of the High Court ruling,” accusing the protesters of only being interested in the rule of law when it suits them.

“The tyrants of the left only elevate the law when it’s convenient, but it turns out that in order to carry out a coup, not through elections, trampling the law is kosher,” Bitan said. “I expect the police to act with a strong hand and to enforce the court’s instructions against an anarchist minority, ” he said.

At counter-demonstrations nearby, right wing protesters denounced the anti-Netanyahu demonstrators as “anti-Semites” and “hypocritical leftists,” Haaretz reported.

Police said some the 2,000-strong protest violated conditions set by the court, as did the use of loud speakers.

In response to police claims that the demonstrators had defied the court rulings, the organizers said they had complied with police restrictions, and that thousands who were turned away from the main demonstration had instead held protests nearby in full accordance with the court ruling.

A man holds up a poster during a weekly protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, seen on the poster, in front of the home of Israel's attorney general Avichai Mandelblit in Petah Tikva. Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017 (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)

Police said 500 protesters had already arrived to Goren Square near Mandelblit’s in Petah Tivka as the protest began at 8:00 p.m. and called on additional demonstrators to stay away from the site and “to respect the court decision.”

The protest came as Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) acknowledged that the arrests last week of protest leaders Menny Naftali and Eldad Yaniv had been “a mistake.”

“I am not defending the police,” he told Channel 2, calling the arrest “an error of judgement” and also saying there had been no need to handcuff them.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan attends a meeting at the Knesset on May 17, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Despite criticizing the arrest of Yaniv and Naftali, Erdan also had harsh words for the protesters and denied police were seeking to limit freedom of speech.

“Let’s just say the truth: those who harm the rule of law are Eldad Yaniv and his friends who exert improper pressure on the attorney general,” he said, referring to the protesters’ demands for Mandelblit to accelerate the corruption investigations involving Netanyahu.

Yaniv called on the public to come protest at a number of other locations in Petah Tikva, which he said were not subject to the limitations imposed by temporary injunction issued by the High Court Thursday.

“There are two hills nearby waiting for thousands of people to arrive,” he tweeted before the start of the protest. “Come on already.”

Also at the demonstration was Naftali, a former caretaker at the Prime Minister’s Residence, who has been spearheading the 40 weeks of protest.

The High Court ruling earlier this week came in response to a petition to the court filed by protest organizers after police blocked demonstrators from reaching Mandelblit’s home last weekend and said any future protests would require police permits.

Menny Naftali (C), the former housekeeper of Prime Minister's Residence, and Israeli activist Eldad Yaniv (2R) outside the courtroom of the High Court in Jerusalem, August 24, 2017.(Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The demonstrations, which have taken place every Saturday evening since December 2016, have grown dramatically in recent weeks amid developments in the corruption cases involving Netanyahu. Two weeks ago, over 2,500 people took part.

Likud supporters have also staged a number of counter protests near Mandelblit’s home in recent weeks, albeit on a much smaller scale, and have accused demonstrators of seeking to oust Netanyahu through the courts.

Mandelblit — a former cabinet secretary to the prime minister — is overseeing two separate criminal investigations against Netanyahu, known as Case 1000 and Case 2000.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen with then-cabinet secretary and current Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, May 26, 2015. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)

In Case 1000, Netanyahu and his wife Sara are suspected of receiving illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors, most notably hundreds of thousands of shekels’ worth of cigars and champagne from the Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

Case 2000 involves a suspected illicit quid pro quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes that would have seen the prime minister hobble a rival daily, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel Hayom, through Knesset legislation in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.

Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing.

The demonstrations were first kick-started by Naftali, who has in the past alleged he was verbally and physically abused by the prime minister’s wife during his employment. In February he was awarded NIS 170,000 (about $43,735) in damages after a labor court accepted his claims.

On Wednesday, Naftali denied reports that he may become a state’s witness in a separate police investigation into Sara Netanyahu for allegedly diverting public money for her private housekeeping expenses.

Protests turn unruly after Trump’s Phoenix speech

PHOENIX — A day of noisy but largely peaceful protests of President Donald Trump’s speech in Phoenix turned unruly as police fired pepper spray at crowds after someone apparently lobbed rocks and bottles at officers.

A cloudy haze enveloped the night sky Tuesday outside the convention center where Trump had just wrapped up his speech as protesters and police clashed. People fled the scene coughing as the disturbance unfolded.

“People in the crowd have begun throwing rocks and bottles at police. They also dispersed some gas in the area,” Phoenix police spokesman Jonathan Howard said, adding that officers responded with pepper spray to “disperse the crowd.”

Minor scuffles and shouting matches erupted earlier between protesters and Trump’s supporters on Tuesday with authorities on high alert as thousands of people lined up in the triple-digit heat to attend his first political rally since the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Phoenix police kept most members of the two opposing groups behind barricades and apart on separate sides of the street. As a police helicopter hovered overhead, officers wearing riot gear and carrying rifles sauntered through the lane between the sides.

Local authorities were vigilant in the aftermath of the deadly protests in Virginia and the president’s comments last week about both sides having blame for violence at the white supremacist rally. Mayor Greg Stanton had unsuccessfully called on the president to not hold the rally here so soon after the trouble in Charlottesville.

“Toxic Trump,” read one protest sign held up to the president’s supporters streaming into the Phoenix Convention Center downtown. “Lock Him Up!” read another, a reference to earlier campaign chants by Trump and his backers about his election rival Hillary Clinton.

Dillon Scott of Phoenix, who voted for Clinton, said he came out to express dissatisfaction with how long Trump took to denounce racism after the Charlottesville violence.

“No one should be allowed to get away with what he gets away with, especially in political office,” Scott said.

Meanwhile, a group of protesters chanted, “Wrong side of history! Wrong side of history!”

Trump backer Randy Hutson, a retired Phoenix police officer, began standing in line more than seven hours before the speech was to start. “He is the first president I feel in my lifetime that speaks his mind and speaks from the heart,” Hutson said. “He says what needs to be said.”

A number of opposition signs showed drawings or photos of Trump with a small, Hitler-style mustache. Three Trump supporters taunted Latino protesters with offensive comments about immigrants and held anti-Muslim and Black Lives Matter signs.

As the line to get in the venue moved ahead, the two groups shouted at each other and some skirmishes broke out. At one point, a Trump supporter and protester shoved each other.

John Brown, of an anti-Trump group calling itself the Redneck Revolt, wore military fatigues and had an AK-47 rifle strapped to his chest as he and a half dozen others from the group stood about 30 feet behind the barricade for protesters. He said they were there to protect Trump opponents and stand up to fascism. “He’s offensive to me in every way,” Brown said.

The outdoor temperature remained over 100 degrees as the rally began.

Capt. Rob McDade, spokesman for Phoenix Fire Department, says that as of 6 p.m. they had treated 48 people for heat-related problems, most of them for dehydration. He said that of those, two were adult women were taken to a hospital for further evaluation.

State Democratic leaders urged people who wanted to show their opposition to the president’s policies to gather at a city-designated free speech zone near the site of the rally.

The message to protesters echoed those coming from law enforcement and Stanton. Stanton said he expects protesters to be “civil, respectful and peaceful.” Police Chief Jeri Williams says First Amendment rights will be supported but criminal conduct will be swiftly addressed.

But some of Trump’s supporters were so keen to see the president that they began queuing up before dawn for the 7 p.m. rally.

“It’s been on a bucket list of mine, since he became the president,” said Kingman resident Diane Treon, who arrived at 4 a.m. “I wished I had attended one of his campaign rallies before he became president and I wanted to go to the inauguration. And truthfully it was the protests that kept me away.”

Treon said she wishes protesters “would be a little more peaceful instead of violently rioting, which is happening in so many places” but isn’t overly worried.

Protests, vigils around US decry white supremacist rally in Charlottesville

SEATTLE (AP) — Protesters decrying hatred and racism converged around the country on Sunday, saying they felt compelled to counteract the white supremacist rally that spiraled into deadly violence in Virginia.

The gatherings spanned from a planned march to President Donald Trump’s home in New York to a candlelight vigil in Florida. In Seattle, police made arrests and confiscated weapons as Trump supporters and counter-protesters converged downtown.

Some focused on showing support for the people whom white supremacists’ condemn. Other demonstrations were pushing for the removal of Confederate monuments, the issue that initially prompted white nationalists to gather in anger this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. Still other gatherings aimed to denounce fascism and a presidential administration that organizers feel has let white supremacists feel empowered.

“People need to wake up, recognize that and resist it as fearlessly as it needs to be done,” said Carl Dix, a leader of the Refuse Fascism group organizing demonstrations in New York, San Francisco and other cities. “This can’t be allowed to fester and to grow because we’ve seen what happened in the past when that was allowed.”

“It has to be confronted,” said Dix, a New Yorker who spoke by phone from Charlottesville Sunday afternoon. He’d gone there to witness and deplore the white nationalist rally on a Saturday that spiraled into bloodshed.

Protesters listen during a "Peace and Sanity" rally Sunday Aug. 13, 2017, in the Brooklyn borough of New York, during a rally about white supremacy violence in Charlottesville, Va. (AP/Bebeto Matthews)

In Seattle, hundreds of demonstrators and counter-protesters converged downtown. Police say they have made arrests and confiscated weapons. Police also ordered crowds at one downtown intersection to disperse.

Blocks away, a conservative pro-Trump group was rallying at Westlake Park in downtown. The rally organized by the conservative pro-Trump group known as Patriot Prayer — and a counter protest aimed at standing against hate — were previously planned for Sunday. Patriot Prayer has held similar events throughout the Pacific Northwest and they have been met by counter protests.

A barricade separated the groups of protesters as police officers stood by dressed in black riot gear. At one intersection, police ordered crowds to disperse.

The Seattle Times reported that officers used pepper spray on some marchers. It wasn’t immediately clear how many people had been arrested.

Protesters listen during a "Peace and Sanity" rally Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, in the Brooklyn borough of New York, during a rally about white supremacy violence in Charlottesville, Va. (AP/Bebeto Matthews)

In Denver, several hundred demonstrators gathered beneath a statue of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in City Park and marched about two miles to the state Capitol. In Fort Collins, Colorado, marchers chanted “Everyone is welcome here. No hate, no fear.” One demonstrator’s sign said, “Make racists ashamed again.”

Other protests were planned later in the day in other places, including candlelight vigils in Winter Haven, Florida, and near the New Hampshire Statehouse. Other demonstrations centered on confederate statues on the state Capitol grounds in West Virginia and in Tampa, Florida; officials in Tampa have voted to relocate theirs.

The Florida chapter of the group Save Southern Heritage released a statement Sunday expressing “horror and disbelief” over the deaths in Charlottesville, Virginia, but also blaming news reports for “renewed attacks on Florida’s historical assets,” including the Tampa Confederate war memorial.

City Councilman Brad Lander, center, address protesters at a "Peace and Sanity" rally Sunday Aug. 13, 2017, in the Brooklyn borough of New York, during a rally about white supremacy violence in Charlottesville, Va., (AP /Bebeto Matthews)

Charlottesville descended into violence Saturday after neo-Nazis, skinheads, Ku Klux Klan members and other white nationalists gathered to “take America back” and oppose plans to remove a Confederate statue in the Virginia college town, and hundreds of other people came to protest the rally. The groups clashed in street brawls, with hundreds of people throwing punches, hurling water bottles and beating each other with sticks and shields.

Eventually, a car rammed into a peaceful crowd of anti-white-nationalist protesters, killing a woman. A state police helicopter monitoring the events crashed into the woods, killing two troopers. In all, dozens of people were injured. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

A vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 12, 2017. (Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP)

Prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer, who attended the rally, denied all responsibility for the violence. He blamed the counter-protesters and police.

Trump condemned what he called an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides,” a statement that Democrats and some of the president’s fellow Republicans saw as equivocating about who was to blame. The White House later added that the condemnation “includes white Supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.”

Some of the white nationalists at Saturday’s rally cited Trump’s victory, after a campaign of racially charged rhetoric, as validation for their beliefs. Some of the people protesting Sunday also point to the president and his campaign, saying they gave license to racist hatred that built into what happened in Charlottesville.

“For those who questioned whether ‘oh, don’t call it fascism’ … this should resolve those issues,” Reiko Redmonde, an organizer of a Refuse Fascism protest planned in San Francisco, said by phone. “People need to get out in the streets to protest, in a determined way.”

State of Emergency Declared in Charlottesville After Protests Turn Violent

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The governor of Virginia declared a state of emergency in Charlottesville on Saturday as a protest of a plan to remove a statue of a Confederate general turned violent, leaving several people injured and threatening to plunge the area into chaos.

Protesters clashed in the historic college town, home to the University of Virginia, as white nationalists — some waving Confederate flags, chanting Nazi-era slogans, wearing helmets and carrying shields — converged on the statue of Robert E. Lee in the city’s Emancipation Park and the surrounding streets. The protest was the apparent culmination of more than a year of debate and division over the fate of the statue.

Saturday’s rally was supposed to start at noon, but the scene at the park had grown chaotic by late morning, with white nationalists and neo-Nazis facing off with Black Lives Matter demonstrators and other counterprotesters. Inside the park, which was encircled with metal barricades and the police, hundreds of white nationalists gathered around the Lee statue, chanting phrases like “You will not replace us,” and “Jew will not replace us.”

Outside the park, a huge mass of counterprotesters grew, shouting phrases like “Nazi scum.” By 11:35 a.m., the police had retreated, the barricades had come down and fights had broken out. People were seen clubbing one another in the streets. Pepper spray filled the air as the police attempted to contain the situation.

By 11 a.m., when the city declared the state of emergency, several people had been injured, including a University of Virginia police officer. It was unclear if the injuries were serious. The governor, Terry McAuliffe, followed with his own declaration an hour later.

“The acts and rhetoric in #Charlottesville over past 24 hours are unacceptable & must stop,” Governor McAuliffe said on Twitter. “A right to speech is not a right to violence.”

Charlottesville has been bracing for what feels like an invasion of alt-right demonstrators, here for what they are calling a “Unite the Right” rally. On Friday night, hundreds of them, carrying lit torches, marched on the picturesque grounds of the university, founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson.

University officials said one person was arrested and charged Friday night with assault and disorderly conduct, and several others were injured. Among those hurt was a university police officer injured while making the arrest, the school said in a statement.

Theresa A. Sullivan, the president of the university, strongly condemned the Friday demonstration in a statement, calling it “disturbing and unacceptable.”

Police shooting, protests prompt Seattle Jewish Federation to halt annual award

SEATTLE — Last week, the death of Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old black woman, at the hands of police caused the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle to postpone its annual meeting along with a planned award ceremony for the Seattle Police Department. The killing also prompted a public petition from members of the Seattle Jewish community to rescind the award completely.

In May, the Federation announced that its annual Tikkun Olam Award would be given on June 22 to Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, on behalf of her department, for incorporating Holocaust education into police training and collaborating with Jewish groups on a real-time communications tool developed after a shooting attack at the Federation’s headquarters in 2006.

The Federation said in a written statement on June 21 that the postponement of the award ceremony came at O’Toole’s request “due to the fragile state of the Seattle community and the raw emotions around the police’s actions in connection with the death of Charleena Lyles.” The statement also affirmed that the award still stands, a decision at odds with an online petition drafted in the immediate aftermath of Lyles’ death that garnered over 750 signatures in 48 hours.

Calling themselves “Concerned Seattle Jews,” petitioners on the online platform wrote, “It is difficult to reconcile honoring Chief O’Toole with an award for tikkun olam — the idea that Jews share responsibility for repairing the world — while the Seattle Police Department is under a US Justice Department order and federal court supervision because of a history of excessive use of force and mistreatment of our fellow citizens, especially people of color. In the wake of Sunday’s police killing of Charleena Lyles, an African American mother who called the police for assistance and ended up dead, the idea of the Jewish Federation carrying through this award is especially appalling.”

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole at a 2014 event. (CC SA/Joe Mabel)

Lyles, a pregnant mother of four with a history of mental illness, called the emergency line 911 on June 18 to report a burglary. Two officers responded to the call and their dispatch system noted her mental health history. Inside her apartment, with her young children present, officers allege that Lyles became incoherent, threatened them verbally, and brandished a knife. The officers reportedly demanded that she drop the knife, and when she instead lunged at one of the officers, they opened fire.

Much of the public debate in the week since the incident has focused on whether or not the officers should have been carrying Tasers as a non-lethal force option. The officers, who said they left their Tasers in their lockers, were not wearing body cameras but there are audio recordings of the encounter. The investigation is expected to take at least several months.

Rabbi David Basior of the Seattle Reconstructionist Community. (Youtube screen capture)

Rabbi David Basior, who leads the Kadima Reconstructionist Community in Seattle, said that there had been immediate discomfort in his Jewish circles about the Federation’s decision to publicly acknowledge the police department since it was first announced, but that opinions were mostly confined to internal conversations. He called Lyles’ death “an awful catalyst” that forced the issue into the open.

His congregation has been studying the Movement for Black Lives and its manifesto — which controversially used the terms “genocide” and “apartheid” to describe Israel — for over a year. That text study, he said, led to an immediate consensus that “it’s not okay to give a tikkun olam award on behalf of the Jewish community in Seattle to the Seattle Police Department.” But, he continued, “The tightrope to walk was how to do that gently while being kind and strong to our brothers, sisters, elders, and youngsters at the Federation and not demonizing humans in police uniforms.”

Basior said there is no “rift” between the Jewish community and the Federation, but rather an opportunity for more robust dialogue between decision-makers and the community at large. “The Jewish community in Seattle needs to give each other tochecha,” Basior said, referring to the Jewish term for rebuke, or “criticism with love.”

“The Federation is still the only address in town where a Chabad rabbi, a Reconstructionist rabbi, someone who thinks Israel should annex the West Bank, and someone who thinks the occupation should end can sit in the same room and have a conversation about some Jewish topics — but not all,” he said.

Illustrative: Jewish activists in Boston marched for the Black Lives Matter movement, including members of Jewish Voice for Peace (photo credit: Ignacio Laguarda/Wicked Local)

Basior noted that the current disagreement over the tikkun olam award comes in a local climate where leftist activists, like the local chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, feel excluded from the Federation because of their politics. The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle declined to comment for this story.

Those opposed to the award said they saw the merit in the specific Seattle Police Department programs that formed the Federation’s rationale. For example, the Seattle-based Holocaust Center for Humanity now hosts trainings using a national curriculum called “Law Enforcement and Society: Lessons of the Holocaust” that examines how police were complicit in Nazi atrocities. Every Seattle police officer is expected to have completed the training by October. Basior called this partnership “a big win.”

Jewish Voice for Peace protest against Boeing in Seattle in 2014. (Alex Garland Photography)

Ultimately, however, the petitioners felt that those initiatives were overshadowed by the structural issues surrounding the department’s treatment of racial and ethnic minorities, which some felt reflected the Federation’s own blind spots.

“We need to be incredibly vigilant around anti-Semitism in our communities,” said Simone Adler, a community organizer on food justice issues. “We need to take seriously keeping the Jewish community safe, but that Jewish community includes people of color.”

That concern resonated strongly with Daniel Eliyahu, an Israeli-American student at the University of Washington whose mother is descended from the Jewish community of Cochin, India. He identifies as a Jew of color.

Illustrative: A woman faces off with a Seattle police officer on Capitol Hill during a May Day protest. (istockphotos)

“The label of tikkun olam means so much to so many people about creating justice and working towards a better world,” Eliyahu said. “To see such camaraderie with a police department that has such a track record of violence against people of color shows something that many Jews of color have seen with the Federation, which is that the Federation doesn’t see themselves as representing a multiracial community.”

Eliyahu’s concerns come at a time of rapid demographic change for the local Jewish community, which has grown 70 percent since 2001 in what is now the fastest growing city in the US.

The Federation, meanwhile, should expect the award activists to keep up the pressure.

A Seattle motorcycle policeman on the sidewalk. (istock photos)

“Awarding the police department for working on fighting anti-Semitism while not also challenging the police department on fighting racism is an incredible loss of an opportunity,” Eliyahu said.

Adler does not view the annual meeting’s postponement as a victory, but rather as “backing out from an opportunity to engage.” She and other activists had called for the meeting to go on — without the award ceremony, but with a prayer service and an opportunity to say the kaddish prayer for Lyles. Instead, a group of about 30 said prayers before a vigil on June 22 that attracted hundreds to downtown Seattle.

“In this moment there is nothing to celebrate when we are mourning a black pregnant mother of four who was killed in our city,” Adler said. “A victory would have been rescinding the award altogether.”