Black Lives Matter leader arrested in La. on a night of tension and protests – Washington Post

Police leave a protest site after moving in and making arrests on Saturday in Baton Rouge. (Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

Police in Baton Rouge late Saturday arrested DeRay McKesson, one of the most visible faces of the Black Lives Matter movement, during one of a series of protests over the recent fatal shootings of black men. As many as 200 people were reported arrested on a night of tension and unrest.

[High profile activist DeRay McKesson taken into custody by Baton Rouge police]

Throughout the nation, demonstrators on Saturday demanded accountability from police. The protests stretched into early Sunday in Baton Rouge and St. Paul, where tensions are most raw after the deaths of Alton Sterling in the Louisiana city and of Philando Castile in a St. Paul suburb.

A fellow activist and colleague of McKesson’s in Baton Rouge said in a Twitter message that 100 people were arrested in the city. There was no immediate confirmation from authorities.

A late night sit-in on a Minnesota highway broke up after smoke bombs and flash-bang grenades were used by officers, who had rocks and water bottles thrown at them. During the confrontation, five officers suffered minor injuries — including one struck in the head with a large piece of concrete, a St. Paul Police Department spokesman tweeted. He later told the Star Tribune newspaper that roughly 50 people were arrested during that incident and 50 more later in the night.

The approximately 50 people arrested during the melee could be charged with rioting, the spokesman told The Washington Post. The others, detained at a different location, were cited for public nuisance and unlawful assembly and released, he said.

Police said arrests were made after protesters began throwing fireworks, bottles and rocks at officers during a protest that shut down a section of Interstate 94 in St. Paul on Saturday, July 9. (Reuters)

Shortly before 10 p.m. local time Saturday, someone had shot at the San Antonio Police Department headquarters. No one was injured, but police leaders were anxious given the slayings of five officers in Dallas on Thursday by a gunman who, police say, was enraged by the deaths of black people at the hands of police officers.

[Amid protests and vigils, a small cry for a nation on edge: ‘It hurts too much’]

There was no similar violence on Saturday or widespread unrest like what occurred after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody in Baltimore and the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. But demonstrations were punctuated with tense confrontations.

Members of the New Black Panther Party came face-to-face with Louisiana state troopers outside a police headquarters earlier in the day. At night, police took dozens of activists in Baton Rouge into custody, including McKesson.

[Black Lives Matter Activist Deray McKesson taken into custody by Baton Rouge police]

McKesson, who lives in Baltimore, documented protests in Baton Rouge on Saturday, the same day as his 31st birthday. He narrated the events surrounding him on Periscope, criticizing Baton Rouge police for what he saw as a heavy-handed response against peaceful protesters. And did the same in frequent postings on Twitter and Vine.

As he and other activists marched through one of Baton Rouge’s busiest highways that passes the police headquarters, McKesson assailed police for provoking people after an officer threatened to arrest anyone walking on the road, according to video obtained by The Washington Post. Another high profile activist fired back that they were on the shoulder because there was no sidewalk.

Later, officers approached McKesson. The smartphone he was using to broadcast the march and his ongoing commentary fell from his hands as he was arrested.

According to other activists, two police officers slammed McKesson to the ground and took him into custody along with 33 other activists.

Police arrest activist DeRay McKesson during a protest along Airline Highway, a major road that passes in front of the Baton Rouge Police Department headquarters Saturday in Baton Rouge, La. (Max Becherer/AP)

In a text message to The Post from within police custody, McKesson said he and the nearly three dozen others were in custody together, wrists tied, and being taken to a police precinct. A police spokesman confirmed his arrest to The Advocate newspaper, but did not elaborate on potential charges and did not return a request for comment from the Post.

As Saturday night became Sunday morning, there was no word on what charges McKesson might be facing. But a website for a local jail showed that McKesson was an inmate there as of Sunday. He called a close friend in Baltimore around 5:30 a.m. and told her he was in okay physical condition but did not know when he’d be released, the friend told The Post.

News of McKesson’s arrest quickly spread on Twitter, fueling outrage over the possibility that he may have been deliberately targeted. The hashtag #FreeDeray began to trend almost immediately on Twitter after McKesson’s arrest and was trending with more than 100,000 tweets hours later as of 5 a.m., with many tweets urging people to call Baton Rouge police and demand his release. McKesson was arrested nearly a year ago in August during a sit-in outside a federal courthouse in St. Louis to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Brown’s death.

McKesson rose to national prominence when he left Minneapolis after the death of Brown in Ferguson, Mo., to become an activist and to document the growing movement seeking reforms in how law enforcement across the country treats communities of color. He has amassed roughly 450,000 Twitter followers and has been a forceful advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement on cable and in late-night television appearances.

Earlier this year, McKesson sought to transform from activist to politician by running for Baltimore mayor. But the national spotlight wasn’t enough to endear him to voters there, and he finished far behind well-established political figures in the Democratic primary.

In the quiet period after the plethora of tense standoffs and arrests in Baton Rouge, three young protesters put on thin blue gloves and grabbed large trash bags.

“Last night, when people was running, they were tripping over the water bottles,” said Allyson Leach, 24. “This way if something happens, people will be safe.”

Across from them, police officers formed a human barricade outside police headquarters.

Barely moving. Shields up.

Still, protesters kept coming. They gathered on a swale outside a Shell gas station. They shouted, “No justice, no peace!”and wondered if the police would charge at them again. They carried signs — “I Can’t Keep Calm I Have a Black Son”, one read — and raised their voices to sing “We Shall Overcome” and dropped used water bottles on to the ground.

Leach and her friends were there to pick them up.

“I am working full time, I’m a student and a mother,” added Shelby McKnight, 25.  “But I am out here anyway because we need to stand up.”

Stand up.

Both had felt a movement was afoot in Baton Rouge. It was bound to happen, they thought. If it happened in Ferguson and Baltimore, it was bound to happen in this place, too, where the black community had long had tensions with the police force.

People in Dallas, St. Paul, Minn., and across the nation grapple with how to move on from the deaths of two black men at the hands of police as well as the loss of five police officers all in one week’s time. (Whitney Shefte,McKenna Ewen,Dalton Bennett,Ashleigh Joplin/The Washington Post)

On Friday, McKnight recalled looking into one police officer’s eyes. She yelled at him and begged him to speak out for justice.  She had no idea what he would do next and got a little scared. Tears welled in her eyes, and the police officer stared back. He too, she said, had started to cry.

“They know,” McKnight said. “They have to know that wrong was done.”

The crowds thinned at midnight, and police officers began filing back into the headquarters.

Others joined to help them pick up trash. They filled 22 bags and three boxes. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” Leach said. “It could get ugly again.”

But for this night, the police had retreated, the songs had died down. And the lawn was left clean.

Earlier in the evening in St. Paul, Philando Castile’s friends, family and relatives from as far as St. Louis assembled in a parking lot at dusk, waiting for the light to fade.

Steps away, along Larpenteur Ave., in Falcon Heights, Castile was pulled over and shot to death during a traffic stop Wednesday, and his girlfriend streamed his dying moments and the officer’s reactions in a widely viewed Facebook Live video. In the days since, a makeshift memorial formed beside the pavement, where the hot sun wilted flowers and melted candle wax into puddles on the concrete sidewalk.

When the sunlight faded, family members lit the remaining candles anew and tied up shiny balloons to memorialize Castile at the place where he died. His sister, Allysza Castile, thanked the group of about 50 who came to pay their respects. They held a moment of silence and prayed to “find justice in his death.”

Protesters link hands on shut down highway I-94 on Saturday in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

About four miles south, hundreds of Black Lives Matter protesters led a march from the governor’s mansion onto a busy interstate, snarling traffic in both directions. The response from law enforcement was swift. What started as a peaceful demonstration during the course of the next six hours escalated into a tense and at times violent stand-off with police ready in riot gear.

The marchers moved slowly along the highway. Many of the marchers bounced to Kendrick Lamar, Run the Jewels and N.W.A pumping through loudspeakers. They sat into the late hours of the evening.

“This is Black Lives Matter, and we are exercising our First Amendment right to protest,” one activist said.

At one point, the crowd inched toward a line of officers in gas masks and holding batons. Officers responded with smoke grenades, flash bangs and, in a number of instances, jets of pepper spray. Protesters countered by throwing plastic bottles of water, hunks of concrete and rocks.

At last, officers soon surrounded the marchers. Police detained demonstrators as Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” played on the sound system.

The tenor’s soothing voice called out into the restless night:

“Picket lines and picket signs

Don’t punish me with brutality

Talk to me, so you can see

Oh, what’s going on.”

[Obama reaches out to battered nation after rage of ‘demented’ Dallas gunman]

William Branigin, Ashley Cusick, Isaac Stanley-Becker and Mark Berman contributed to this report.

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Could Brexit Be Canceled? Here's How Vote Might Be Reversed –

LONDON — Most Brits voted to leave the European Union, so at some point that’s what the government will do. Simple, right?

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Secretary of State John Kerry echoed many analysts Tuesday when he said “there are a number of ways” the Brexit vote might be reversed — meaning the U.K. might remain part of the EU after all.

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Brexit vote, UK political confusion keep world markets on edge – Reuters

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union continued to reverberate through financial markets, with the pound falling to its lowest level in 31 years, despite government attempts to relieve some of the confusion about the political and economic outlook.

UK finance minister George Osborne said early Monday that the British economy was strong enough to cope with the market volatility caused by last week’s “Brexit” referendum which has resulted in the biggest blow since World War Two to the European goal of forging greater unity.

“Our economy is about as strong as it could be to confront the challenge our country now faces,” Osborne told reporters.

“It is inevitable after Thursday’s vote that Britain’s economy is going to have to adjust to the new situation we find ourselves in,” said Osborne, who later ruled himself out of the running to succeed David Cameron as prime minister.

Boris Johnson, a leading proponent of Brexit and the frontrunner to be the next prime minister, praised Osborne for saying “some reassuring things to the markets”.

The former London mayor said it was now clear that “people’s pensions are safe, the pound is stable, markets are stable. I think that is all very good news.”

But neither Osborne’s nor Johnson’s words failed to stop the slide in stocks on world markets which began last Friday when Britons confounded investors’ expectations by voting to end 43 years of EU membership.

European bank shares had their worst two-day fall on record and world stocks as measured by MSCI index saw their worst two-day fall since the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers during the 2008 financial crisis. On Friday alone about $2.8 trillion was wiped off the value of world stocks, the biggest daily loss ever.

Sterling fell to a low around $1.3120, its lowest level since mid-1985. The euro also remained weak, after falling to a three-month low around $1.0910 on Friday.

Asian stocks markets opened weaker on Tuesday, with MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan index extending losses for a third day, down 0.5 percent. Japan’s Nikkei was off 0.7 percent.

“Markets already appear to be pricing in a full-blown recession in the U.K. and rising recession risk in the rest of Europe,” said David Donabedian, chief investment officer of Atlantic Trust Private Wealth Management.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s stripped Britain of its last remaining top-notch credit rating on Monday, warning that more downgrades could follow.

“In our opinion, this (referendum) outcome is a seminal event, and will lead to a less predictable, stable, and effective policy framework in the UK,” S&P said in a statement.

The yield on British 10-year government bonds fell below 1.0 percent for the first time as investors bet the Brexit vote would trigger a Bank of England interest rate cut aimed at steadying the economy.

U.S. stocks ended lower for a second day also, following European markets, pulled down by banking stocks amid uncertainty over London’s future as the region’s financial capital. Safe-haven bond and gold prices rose.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Monday said he sees no signs of a financial crisis arising from Britain’s decision last week, although he admitted that the result does present additional “headwinds” for the U.S. economy.

Visiting Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it was important that “nobody loses their head” as the EU and Britain deal with the fallout from the referendum.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi expressed “sadness” on Monday at Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

Draghi will fly to Brussels on Tuesday, where he is expected to brief European leaders about the impact of the UK vote on the euro zone at a two-day European Council meeting.


With the ruling U.K. Conservative party looking for a new leader after Cameron’s resignation on Friday and lawmakers from the opposition Labour party stepping up a rebellion against their leader, Britain sank deeper into political chaos.

“There’s no political leadership in the UK right when markets need the reassurance of direction,” said Luke Hickmore of Aberdeen Asset Management, expressing the view of many in the City of London financial center.

British broadcaster Sky News said work and pensions minister Stephen Crabb was also considering a bid for the Conservative party leadership, with business secretary Sajid Javid seeking to become finance minister. Both were in favor of staying in the EU. The editor of the Spectator magazine tweeted that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was also “highly likely” to launch a bid.

Cameron says he will stay on until October as a caretaker and that his successor should trigger the formal process of leaving the EU. His Conservative Party in parliament recommended choosing a successor by early September.

The prime minister sought to calm fears over the fallout of the referendum and said parliament should not try to block Britain’s departure. A majority of parliamentarians, like him, had argued that Britain should stay in the EU.

“I am clear, and the cabinet agreed this morning, that the decision must be accepted,” Cameron told parliament, which also faces a public petition for a new referendum.

While the question of whether to leave the EU has split the ruling Conservative party, divisions within the opposition are also deep. A wave of Labour lawmakers resigned from leader Jeremy Corbyn’s team on Monday, adding to the 11 senior figures who quit on Sunday, saying his campaign to keep Britain in the EU was half-hearted.

Corbyn, a left-winger who has strong support among ordinary party members, has said he is not stepping down.

Discontent with the political establishment in general and the Conservatives in particular was a factor behind the vote to leave, although many Brexit backers focused on immigration, complaining too many migrants had arrived from eastern Europe.

Piling on misery for beaten English “remain” voters, the country’s soccer team on Monday crashed out of the Euro 2016 soccer competition to tiny Iceland.

“We embarrassed ourselves three of four days ago in the referendum, we’ve embarrassed ourselves now. It’s a really, really sad time to be English,” lamented English soccer fan Alex in the French city of Nice.


Cameron’s refusal to start formal moves to pull the country out of the EU has prompted many European leaders to demand quicker action by Britain, the EU’s second largest economy after Germany, to leave the 28-country bloc.

“It should be implemented quickly. We cannot remain in an uncertain and indefinite situation,” French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said on France 2 television.

Guenther Oettinger, German member of the EU’s executive European Commission, said delay would hurt Europe as well as Britain. “Every day of uncertainty prevents investors from putting their funds into Britain, and also other European markets,” he told Deutschlandfunk radio.

Cameron heads to Brussels on Tuesday for a grim EU summit dinner, while the other 27 leaders will meet for the first time without him on Wednesday morning to plan their next moves. They are likely to stress a willingness to negotiate, but only after London binds itself to a tight two-year exit timetable.

The leaders of France, Germany and Italy met in Berlin on Monday and said Europe needed to respond to its people’s concerns by setting clear goals to improve security, the economy and prospects for young people.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has appeared to take a softer line on Britain’s decision than some European leaders, said she had “neither a brake nor an accelerator” to control events, adding: “We just don’t want an impasse.”

The political, economic and regulatory uncertainty is being felt across the globe at a time when economies are still slowly recovering from the 2008 economic crisis, interest rates are close to zero, and central banks have fewer tools than normal to revive demand if countries enter recession.

South Korea said on Tuesday it would propose a supplementary budget of around 10 trillion won ($8.44 billion), in part to help it manage Brexit turmoil in financial markets.

(Additional reporting by David Lawder, William James, Jamie McGeever, Nigel Stephenson, Kevin Yao, Costas Pitas, Bate Felix, Andrea Shalal, Michael Holden, Guy Faulconbridge, David Milliken, Patrick Graham, Michelle Martin, Elizabeth Piper, Paul Carrel, Conor Humphries, Minami Funakoshi and Tetsushi Kajimoto.; Writing by David Stamp, Philippa Fletcher and Lincoln Feast.; Editing by Peter Graff, Andrew Roche, Kevin Liffey, Clive McKeef)

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