The latest on protests against racism and police brutality from around the world.

RICHMOND, Va. – A Richmond judge temporarily blocked Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday from removing a towering statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the spot where it has stood for 130 years.

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An inspection crew from the Virginia Department of General Services inspects the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on Monday in Richmond, Va. Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered the removal of the statue. Associated Press

A Richmond Circuit Court judge granted a 10-day injunction sought by William Gregory, who contends in a lawsuit that the state promised to “affectionately protect” the statue when it annexed the land it stands on from Henrico County. The lawsuit identifies Gregory as the great-grandson of a couple who were signatories to the deed.

Northam, a Democrat, announced plans to remove the monument and put it in storage last week amid protests in Richmond and across the country against police brutality toward African Americans. The state appeared to be making preparations to move forward with removal this week, with no-parking signs posted nearby and neighbors notified that work was expected to begin in the coming days.

The 14-foot equestrian statue and its 50-foot base stand atop land annexed from Henrico County in the late 1890s. In the deed recording for the land transfer, the state “guaranteed” to “hold said statue and pedestal and circle of ground perpetually sacred to the monumental purpose” and to “faithfully guard it and affectionately protect it,” Gregory’s lawyer, Joseph Blackburn, argued in a court filing Monday.

“Our administration is still reviewing the order,” Northam spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky said. “Governor Northam remains committed to removing this divisive symbol from Virginia’s capital city, and we’re confident in his authority to do so.”

Blackburn emailed a copy of the order to The Washington Post on Monday evening but did not respond to requests for comment. The judge’s name is not clearly legible on the order.

Read the full story about the lawsuit over Richmond’s Robert E. Lee statue here.

Protesters decorate new barrier fence around White House

The miles of new fencing put up around the White House to prevent protesters from getting too close to the building has become a canvas for demonstrators to share messages in support of racial justice.

The fencing began going up around the complex a week ago after President Trump walked from the White House to visit a church that had been burned the night before. The president visited the church after tear gas was used to clear the area of demonstrators.

The fencing, which is over 8 feet tall, went up after multiple reports that Trump was rushed to a secure bunker during demonstrations in Washington.

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People stop to look at signs on a security fence at 16th and H streets on Monday in Washington, after days of protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis. The fence is meant to keep protesters away from the White House, but they have turned it into a kind of memorial wall. Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

However, the fences have become their own sort of destination. They have been converted into a makeshift crowd-sourced memorial wall — almost like an art gallery — to black men and women who lost their lives at the hands of police.

Hundreds of people were strolling, looking, adding names and paintings and posters on Monday.

The Secret Service said that areas around the White House, including Lafayette Park, would be closed until at least Wednesday, “in an effort to maintain the necessary security measures surrounding the White House complex, while also allowing for peaceful demonstration,” meaning the impromptu art gallery should stay up for at least a few more days.

Police chief in Portland, Oregon, resigns

SALEM, Ore. — Portland, Oregon’s police chief resigned on Monday, just six months into her job, amid criticism of her department’s handling of protests in Oregon’s largest city, and an African American lieutenant on the force replaced her.

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Demonstrators march Saturday in Bend, Oregon, to protest racism and police brutality. Andrew Selsky/Associated Press

The shakeup comes as police have been sharply criticized for using what has been called inappropriate force against some protesters as huge demonstrations continue in Portland.

“To say this was unexpected would be an understatement,” new Police Chief Chuck Lovell said at a news conference. “I’m humbled. I’m going to listen. I’m going to care about the community, and I’m looking forward to this journey.”

He and community leaders of color credited Jami Resch, who is white, for stepping down as George Floyd protests continue to roil the city.

Resch told the news conference that Lovell is “the exact right person at the exact right moment” to head the police department. Resch had replaced Danielle Outlaw, who was Portland’s first African American female police chief and who became Philadelphia police commissioner in February.

Resch said she suggested the shakeup to Mayor Ted Wheeler, who said he supported Lovell to lead the department as it moves through needed reforms.

“We need Chief Lovell’s leadership,” Wheeler said at the news conference. “We must re-imagine reform and rebuild what public safety looks like.”

Resch said she will stay with the department in a different role.

Demonstrators held two peaceful George Floyd protests in Portland but a third one that lasted until the early hours of Monday resulted in at least 20 arrests, with some demonstrators throwing objects at police, who fired tear gas and sponge-tipped projectiles.

The ACLU of Oregon has called on Portland police to end the use of tear gas, impact weapons and flash bang devices.

Hundreds line up for George Floyd’s memorial in Houston

HOUSTON — Hundreds of mourners lined up outside a church in George Floyd’s native Houston for a final public viewing Monday as his death two weeks ago at the hands of police continued whipping protesters, leaders and cities around the world into action over demands to address racial injustice and police brutality.

As the doors opened at The Fountain of Praise church in Houston, where Floyd spent most of his life, Floyd was lying in an open gold-colored casket, dressed in a brown suit and blue tie. His body was escorted to what organizers say will be a six-hour public viewing that was expected to draw thousands of mourners.

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Mourners are guided into the Fountain of Praise Church during a public visitation for George Floyd on Monday in Houston. Godofredo A. Vásquez, Houston Chronicle via AP, Pool

Mourners, many wearing masks and T-shirts with the words “I Can’t Breathe,” stood 6 feet apart as they paused briefly to view the casket. Some made the sign of the cross as they passed by. On the stage behind the casket were two identical murals of Floyd wearing a black cap that read “Houston” and angel wings drawn behind him.

Among those expected to attend the service was Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has called Floyd’s death a “horrific act of police brutality.”

Comill Adams, her husband Lamar Smith and their children, 8-year-old Shermame and 10-year-old Saniyah drove 7 1/2 hours from Oklahoma City to attend the public memorial.

“We had been watching the protests on TV. We’ve been at home feeling outraged. At times it brought us to tears,” Adams said. “The fact this one is causing change, we had to come be a part of.”

Adams and her family wore matching black T-shirts that had “George Floyd 1974-2020” on the front and “I Can’t Breathe” on the back. Adams said she had the shirts made for the memorial.

Floyd died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped responding. His death has inspired international protests and drawn new attention to the treatment of African Americans by police and the criminal justice system.

Even as the service began, the impact of his death continued to resonate internationally. In Paris, France’s top security official said police will no longer conduct chokeholds that have been blamed for multiple cases of asphyxiation and have come under renewed criticism after Floyd’s death. And in Washington, Democrats in Congress proposed a sweeping overhaul of police oversight and procedures, a potentially far-reaching legislative response to the mass protests denouncing the deaths of black Americans at the hands of law enforcement.

Read the full story here.

Romney marches with evangelicals, becomes first Republican senator to join protests in D.C.

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, on Sunday became the first Republican senator known to march in one of the District of Columbia’s anti-racist demonstrations after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis nearly two weeks ago.

Wearing a mask and garnering little overt notice from fellow protesters, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee marched alongside hundreds of evangelicals at the head of a column of demonstrators that eventually swelled to more than 1,000 people.

Romney said in an interview that he wanted to find “a way to end violence and brutality, and to make sure that people understand that black lives matter.”

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Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, marches with a crowd singing “Little Light of Mine” in Washington on Sunday. Romney marched Sunday in the protest against police mistreatment of minorities in the nation’s capitol, making him the first Republican senator known to do so. Michelle Boorstein/The Washington Post

Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts have waded through the throngs of outraged yet largely peaceful protesters in D.C., and civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., toured the city’s newly named “Black Lives Matter Plaza” on Sunday morning with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat.

Last week, Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, marched in his state. But Romney is the first Republican senator to publicize joining a demonstration.

President Donald Trump last week declared himself “your president of law and order,” and retweeted a letter from his former attorney John Dowd that referred to the protesters as “terrorists.”

Under a beating afternoon sun, protesters around Romney waved signs with biblical phrases and chanted: “Do justice! Do justice!”

At one point in the march, Romney held up his phone and – like so many other Americans have done in the past week – snapped a selfie of himself protesting. His quickly went viral.

Read the full story here.

Germany wants protesters to social distance

BERLIN — The German government is calling on people attending anti-racism protests to stick to coronavirus distancing rules.

At least 15,000 people demonstrated in Berlin and 25,000 protested in Munich on Saturday and there were protests in other German cities as part of the global demonstrations against racism and police brutality that have followed the May 25 death of American George Floyd.

In some cases, protesters were closely packed together despite German requirements for people to stay 1.5 meters (5 feet) apart.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Monday “it is good if people take to the streets in Germany as well with a clear statement against racism.”

But he added: “the pictures that in some cases emerged over the weekend were not good. Both things must be possible: to demonstrate peacefully, which is a fundamental right, and keep to the (social distancing) rules.”

He said many demonstrators “created a big risk for themselves and others.”

Germany has been widely praised for its adroit handling of the pandemic.

UK prime minister says protests ‘subverted by thuggery’ after slave trader’s statue torn down

LONDON — U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says anti-racism demonstrations have been “subverted by thuggery” after protesters tore down a statue of a slave trader in the city of Bristol and scrawled graffiti on a statue of Winston Churchill in London.

London’s Metropolitan police say a dozen people were arrested and eight officers injured after demonstrators clashed Sunday with police in central London.

Johnson says while people have a right to peacefully protest, they have no right to attack the police. He says “these demonstrations have been subverted by thuggery – and they are a betrayal of the cause they purport to serve.’’

Crime, Policing and Justice Minister Kit Malthouse called Monday for those responsible for toppling the bronze memorial to slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol to be prosecuted.

But Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees told the BBC that while he doesn’t condone criminal damage, he felt no “sense of loss” for the statue.

Armed driver barrels toward Seattle protesters, shooting one before surrendering to police

A chaotic scene unfolded Sunday night in Seattle when an armed driver barreled toward a crowd of protesters, shooting one person who apparently tried to stop him, before ultimately surrendering to police, according to authorities and video footage of the incident.

The violence interrupted a peaceful protest in the name of George Floyd near the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct just before 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

Videos showed protesters appearing to chase after a black Honda Civic as it sped down the street toward a larger crowd, slowing just as it crashed into a metal barrier near an intersection. One protester caught up to the vehicle, video by the Seattle Times shows. The man appeared to try to reach inside the driver’s side window, when a shot rang out.

The protester jolted backward, falling onto the pavement. Bystanders and medics rushed to his aid. The suspect, who has not been identified by police, then exited the vehicle, as the people who had just surrounded his car fled in all directions.

“He’s got a gun!” people screamed in video taken by a Seattle Times reporter.

The suspect then headed toward the heart of the protest where hundreds were gathered in the street. With nowhere to go, some raised their hands in the air. Some lay on the ground.

The man ran through the crowd toward the police line on the other side of the protesters.

Once he emerged from the crowd, he walked toward police with his hands in the air. He walked nearly all the way up to the police line before officers took him away, video of the arrest shows.

Seattle police said the unidentified suspect is in custody and that a gun was recovered from the scene.

The Seattle Fire Department said the 27-year-old victim was transported to the hospital and is in stable condition.

With George Floyd’s death, French anger grows over police brutality

PARIS — France’s government is scrambling to address growing concerns about police violence and racism within the police force, as protests sparked by George Floyd’s death in the U.S. stir up anger around the world.

The country’s top security official, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, was holding a news conference Monday after Floyd-related demonstrations in cities around France. Castaner promised last week to be “unforgiving” with violations by police, but pressure is growing on the government to act.

French President Emmanuel Macron has stayed unusually silent so far both about Floyd’s death and what’s happening in France. Macron’s office says he spoke to the prime minister and other top officials over the weekend, and asked Castaner to “accelerate” plans to improve police ethics that were initially promised in January.

Last week, the Paris prosecutor’s office opened a preliminary investigation into racist insults and instigating racial hatred based on comments allegedly published by police in a private Facebook group.

Website Streetpress published a string of offensive messages that it said were published within the group, though acknowledged that it is unclear whether the authors were actual police officers or people pretending to be police. Some of the reported comments mocked young men of color who have died fleeing police.

Separately, six police officers in the Normandy city of Rouen are under internal investigation over racist comments in a private WhatsApp group. Both incidents have prompted public concerns about extreme views among French police.

French activists say tensions in low-income neighborhoods with large minority populations grew worse amid coronavirus confinement measures, because they further empowered the police.

At least 23,000 people protested in cities around France on Saturday against racial injustice and police brutality, even defying a police ban on such protests in Paris due to fears about spreading coronavirus.

Activists marched Monday in the western city of Nantes, and more demonstrations are planned in France on Tuesday, when Floyd is being buried.

Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka speaks out for Black Lives Matter, faces backlash

TOKYO – Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka is under online attack in her birthplace, after speaking out about racial injustice and encouraging people to join a Black Lives Matter protest march.

Hundreds of people turned out in Tokyo and Osaka over the weekend to express their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and to protest racial injustice in the United States – as well as racism in Japan.

The protesters also took aim at Japanese police for allegedly targeting foreigners, after a Kurdish man claimed to have been stopped by police for no reason and shoved to the ground.

The protests have reopened a debate about racism in Japan – and provoked a backlash from right-wing nationalists.

Many people hoped that the rise of tennis player Osaka, born to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, to the top of the women’s world rankings would help encourage Japanese society to take a more accepting attitude to people known as “hafu,” or half-Japanese.

Osaka moved to New York with her family when she was 3-years-old, but said last year she was giving up her U.S. citizenship to represent Japan in the Tokyo Olympics, because Japan’s Nationality Act stipulates those who hold dual citizenship must choose one before their 22nd birthday.

But for some nationalists, it seems that their acceptance of Osaka is grudging at best – or conditional on her keeping her mouth shut on political issues.

Osaka began speaking out against racial injustice in the United States on Twitter last week, before encouraging people in Japan to join a march in support of Black Lives Matter in the western city of Osaka on Sunday.

Her comments sparked a flood of angry response, with some people arguing that the protest could spark a rise in covid-19 infections, and others arguing that racism was not a problem in Japan, or even that the demonstrations were organized by left-wing activists with an agenda.

“Naomi Osaka does not seem to be the pride of Japan,” one person tweeted. “This is my own personal view after all, but I now recognize her as a terrorist. I do not want her to get involved in tennis, which is played by gentlemen.”


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