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Yellow Vest Anger Burns in France, Fueled by Notre Dame Fire

AP photo/Francisco Seco

PARIS  — French yellow vest protesters set fires Saturday along a march through Paris to drive home their message to a government they believe is ignoring the poor: that rebuilding the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral isn’t the only problem France needs to solve.

Like the high-visibility vests the protesters wear, the scattered small fires in Paris appeared to be a collective plea to French President Emmanuel Macron’s government to “look at me — I need help too!”

Police fired water cannon and sprayed tear gas to try to control radical elements rampaging on the margins of the largely peaceful march, one of several actions around Paris and other French cities.

The protests marked the 23rd straight weekend of yellow vest actions against Macron’s centrist government, which they see as favoring the wealthy and big business. Protesters view themselves as standing up for beleaguered French workers , students and retirees who have been battered by high unemployment, high taxes and shrinking purchasing power.

But violence and divisions have marred the movement.

Associated Press reporters saw a car, motorbikes and barricades set ablaze around the Place de la Republique plaza in eastern Paris. The smell of tear gas mixed with the smoke, choking the air.

Paris firefighters — who struggled earlier this week to prevent the 12th-century Notre Dame from collapsing — quickly responded to extinguish the flames at Saturday’s protest. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Update: Baltimore Mayor’s Aides Wanted to Send ‘Scouts’ Ahead of Her Appearances Amid Curfew Anger

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Some community members questioned the mayor’s actions and level of visibility during and after the riots.

 reports: Nearly a week after Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake instituted a curfew in Baltimore following rioting and looting — and just one day before she lifted it — top mayoral aides were concerned about her safety amid a growing community tension.

Howard Libit, a spokesman for Rawlings-Blake

Howard Libit, a spokesman for Rawlings-Blake

In a May 2 email to other aides and top deputies, Gus Augustus, director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods, said he had been at Mondawmin Mall that morning and did not recommend the mayor go there because “it was very sketchy and tense.”

Blake-Baltimore

“Gus Augustus, director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods, said he had been at Mondawmin Mall that morning and did not recommend the mayor go there because ‘it was very sketchy and tense.'”

“Folks want the curfew lifted,” Augustus wrote.

He recommended the city send “community folks up there to assist” instead.

[Read the full story here, at the Baltimore Sun]

He also said that while there were “many options” for where the mayor could meet with community members the following day, her team would “need scouts on the ground.” Read the rest of this entry »


Mayor, Wife Tied to Disappearance of 43 Students in Mexico

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TIME

The police chief and mayor of a Mexican town where 43 students went missing in September has been served with an arrest warrant, in connection to the disappearance.

Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo said Wednesday that Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda are accused of targeting the group of student teachers, who went head-to-head with authorities during a political event on Sept. 26 and have not been seen since. A warrant was also issued for police chief Felipe Flores Velazquez, Reuters reports, and Murillo has pegged all three as “probable masterminds” in the disappearances.

At least six students and bystanders were killed during the Sept. 26 clash, the New York Timesreports. Others were held by police before being released to a notorious gang called Guerreros Unidos. Murillo says he believes the students were mistaken for members of a rival gang known…

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Ferguson Missouri: SWAT Truck Repositioned, Gun Pointing Straight at Protesters