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US protests: Far-right rally, counterprotests face-off in Portland;6 injured, 13 arrested

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Washington, Aug 18 At least six people were injured and 13 others arrested during far-right and counter protests in the US city of Portland, police said.

Around 1,200 people gathered for the protests on Saturday, which forced authorities to close several bridges and roads in the city, Efe news quoted Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw as saying in a press conference.

“Officers made at least 13 arrests,” Outlaw said, adding that six protesters suffered minor injuries, not caused by officers.

The police also reported the seizure of weapons including metal and wooden poles, knives, shields, chemical spray and a stun gun.

Outlaw said those arrested face a range of charges, including disorderly conduct, interfering with police, resisting arrest, possessing a weapon and unlawful use of a weapon.

The demonstrators began assembling at 8.30 a.m. on Saturday morning in the central area of the city and at around 4.15 p.m., a “civil disturbance” situation was declared after reports of numerous conflicts between the protesters.

Portland, considered one of the most progressive cities in the US and which was the scene in 2016 of some of the most massive protests against the election of President Donald Trump, witnessed similar demonstrations last August that were calm from the start to finish.

This year, right-wing leaders called an “End Domestic Terrorism” protest against Antifa, a leftist anti-fascist group.

The rally was attended by the far-right groups Proud Boys, which civil rights organization Southern Poverty Law Center defines as a hate movement, and Patriot Prayer.

In response to the protests, Antifa also took to the streets in counter-demonstrations.

During the press conference on Friday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said that the police and supporting authorities “were tasked with an extremely difficult job, and performed like the true professionals that they are.”

“We were preparing for the worst case scenario. We are relieved that this did not happen,” he added.

Trump weighed in on his Twitter account during the day, saying that “Portland is being watched very closely.”

“Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job!” Trump said, adding that “major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an “ORGANIZATION OF TERROR.”

The authorities were on alert to prevent the protests from resulting in violent acts such as that in Aug. 2017, when a neo-Nazi rammed his vehicle through a crowd during protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, leaving one dead and scores injured.

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Nine drug addicts killed in Afghanistan shooting

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Kabul, Nine drug addicts were shot to death in an overnight shooting in a non-residential area in western side of Kabul, Afghanistan, the capital police said on Sunday.

“The shooting occurred at side of Qurugh Mountain in Police District 6 roughly at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday. Personnel of Kabul Criminal Investigation Police Department shifted the bodies to Forensic Science Service Department near Kabul University shortly after the shooting was reported,” Ferdaus Faramarz from Kabul police told Xinhua.

One arrest was made after the shooting and the motive behind the incident remained unclear. Further investigation is on, police added.

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31 civilians killed in Yemen airstrike: UN

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An airstrike in the Yemeni northeastern province of al-Jawf has killed at least 31 civilians and injured 12 others, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen said in a statement on Sunday.

“We share our deep condolences with the families of those killed and we pray for the speedy recovery of everyone who has been injured in these terrible strikes,” Lise Grande said in the statement obtained by Xinhua.

“Under international humanitarian law parties which resort to force are obligated to protect civilians. Five years into this conflict and belligerents are still failing to uphold this responsibility,” she added.

The victims were killed in the airstrike on Saturday that targeted a gathering of people at the site where a Tornado warplane of the Saudi-led coalition crashed in al-Masloub district in the southwest of al-Jawf, according to a local tribal source.

The victims were members of three relative families, the source said on condition of anonymity. The strike came hours after the Houthi rebels claimed to have shot down the Tornado warplane.

Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition confirmed that a Tornado warplane crashed in al-Jawf during an operation to support Yemen’s government forces. The coalition held Houthis responsible for the lives and safety of the plane’s crew, according to a statement carried by the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television.

The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the Iran-allied Houthi rebels since its intervention in the Yemeni conflict in March 2015 to support the internationally-recognized government of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

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Japan confirms 70 new coronavirus cases from cruise ship

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Toky, Another 70 people aboard the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan’s Yokohama have been tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the total to 355 cases, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato confirmed on Sunday.

The health ministry said that the 70 new cases came out of 289 people tested, bringing the total number of those who have undergone tests to 1,219, Japan Times reported.

The cruise ship arrived in Japan earlier this month with more than 3,700 passengers and crew members from more than 50 countries and regions.

With global attention increasingly focused on the situation, the US Embassy sent a letter on Saturday to Americans aboard saying that a chartered aircraft, set to arrive in Japan on Sunday, would repatriate those who wished to leave the ship.

The US aircraft is set to depart from Haneda Airport in Tokyo on Monday, according to Japanese official japan will also cooperate with other countries that make similar arrangements to evacuate their citizens on the ship, Japanese government officials said.

More than a week has passed since the cruise ship was put under a two-week quarantine at Yokohama port after a passenger who disembarked in Hong Kong was found to be infected with COVID-19, the pneumonia-causing coronavirus.

Japan’s health ministry had initially planned to keep all of the passengers and crew confined on the vessel until Wednesday, when the quarantine is scheduled to end.

But the ministry decided last Thursday to let passengers 80 and older, as well as their traveling companions, leave before the end of the quarantine after they were screened for infection.

Those with pre-existing conditions or who were staying in cabins without windows were prioritized for disembarkation.

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