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You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. This week Democracy Now! is celebrating our 23rd birthday. For over two decades, we've produced our daily news hour without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting. How is this possible? Only with your support. Right now, in honor of Democracy Now!'s birthday, every donation we receive will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $30 today, Democracy Now! will get $60 to support our daily news hour. Please do your part. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else. Thank you! -Amy Goodman
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In Baltimore officials have lifted a 10 p.m. curfew and National Guard troops have begun to withdraw as peaceful protests continue over the death of Freddie Gray. The curfew had been in place since an uprising last Monday night, which left buildings and cars on fire. But protests took on a cautiously optimistic tone Friday after Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced a range of charges, including murder and manslaughter, against the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest and transport. Gray’s family says his voice box was crushed and his spine was “80 percent severed at his neck.” Police said they arrested Gray for looking a lieutenant in the eye, then running away. Mosby said police had illegally arrested Gray without probable cause, then ignored his pleas for medical help.
Marilyn Mosby: “The findings of our comprehensive, thorough and independent investigation, coupled with the medical examiner’s determination that Mr. Gray’s death was a homicide, which we received today, has led us to believe that we have probable cause to file criminal charges.”
We’ll hear more of Marilyn Mosby’s announcement, and voices from the streets of Baltimore, after headlines.
The man who filmed one of the videos of Freddie Gray’s arrest has spoken out after he was arrested and released without charge. Kevin Moore said police have harassed and intimidated him, publicizing his photo and asking him to come forward, even though he says they already knew who he was. Moore was arrested Thursday along with two other “cop watch” activists from Ferguson, Missouri, for what he says police claimed was an illegal turn. He told Vice News he believes the arrest was an attempt to intimidate him.
Kevin Moore: “I was arrested last night on some false, bogus intimidation s—t. Like they really tried to intimidate me. They really tried to intimidate me, and they took me down to precinct for like six, seven hours. I don’t get no charge papers. I don’t get no citations. I don’t get none of that. So what am I being charged for? You know what I mean? What am I being detained for?”
The death of Freddie Gray was a central focus Friday as protesters across the United States joined workers around the world to mark May Day. Demonstrators united the calls for immigrant and workers’ rights with calls for an end to police brutality. In Seattle, police said three officers were injured and 16 people arrested amid clashes with protesters who threw objects.
Protests over police violence have also erupted in Tel Aviv, Israel, where Ethiopian Jews are protesting racial profiling and police harassment. In a situation that’s drawn close comparisons to Baltimore, the protests erupted after security camera footage showed a police officer beating a uniformed Ethiopian-Israeli soldier. Thousands of people took to the streets in peaceful protests Sunday, blocking traffic on major roadways. Israeli police said dozens were injured, including many officers, after some protesters threw stones and overturned a police vehicle, while officers fired tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon. More than 40 people were arrested.
Here in New York City, the father of one of the 43 students missing since a police attack seven months ago in Mexico, ran a five-kilometer race to call attention to his son’s case. About 50 supporters ran with him, wearing T-shirts bearing the faces of the missing students. Antonio Tizapa said he saw a parallel between police violence in the U.S. and Mexico.
Antonio Tizapa: “I think it’s all government repression. What happened in Baltimore, to that person, it was one person, and in Mexico, it’s been thousands and thousands. And we haven’t done anything at all, because the government is repressing us so much. So the message I want to give to everyone is, please, let’s open our eyes and not be afraid.”
Click here to see our interview with Antonio Tizapa.
Human Rights Watch has accused the Saudi-led coalition of dropping banned cluster bombs manufactured and supplied by the United States near rebel-held villages in Yemen. Cluster bombs contain dozens or even hundreds of smaller munitions designed to fan out over a wide area, often the size of a football field. They have been banned under a 2008 treaty adopted by 116 countries — although not by Saudi Arabia or the United States.
In Nigeria, community leaders in the central state of Plateau have accused government troops of killing dozens of civilians in order to avenge the deaths of six soldiers. The army has denied the reports, saying it is battling with a tribal militia apparently responsible for the soldiers’ deaths. Meanwhile, the army says it has rescued nearly 700 girls and women from the militant group Boko Haram over the past week. It’s still unclear if any were among the schoolgirls kidnapped in Chibok a year ago.
In Texas, police have shot and killed two men they say opened fire outside an anti-Islam event in the city of Garland, wounding a security officer. The event, organized by Pamela Geller, executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, included a contest for drawing the best caricature of the Prophet Muhammad. The gunmen have not been identified.
Two former allies of New Jersey governor and possible Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie have been indicted on federal charges over their role in lane closings on the George Washington Bridge. Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, and former Port Authority executive director, Bill Baroni, were charged with nine counts, including conspiracy to commit fraud, after prosecutors say they conspired to create a traffic jam to punish the mayor of Fort Lee for failing to endorse Christie’s re-election. David Wildstein, another former Port Authority official and a close ally of Christie’s, pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy to commit fraud for his role in the scandal.
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has announced her bid for the Republican presidential nomination. She is the second woman to enter the presidential race, after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Fiorina and her husband have claimed a combined net worth of between $30 and $120 million.
Federal regulators have released long-awaited new standards for so-called bomb trains transporting crude oil through communities across the United States. The rules require companies to phase out the oldest model of tank cars within three years and retrofit or replace another model by 2020. Despite protests by local officials, the new rules will not require railroads to notify communities when oil trains pass through. In a statement, environmental groups said, “These industry friendly regulations virtually guarantee more explosive derailments, putting people and the environment at great risk.”
In Germany, an artist has unveiled life-size bronze statues of whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz square. The whistleblowers are shown standing on chairs, with an empty chair next to them, on which artist Davide Dormino encouraged people to stand and speak out.
Davide Dormino: “In these sculptures, what I did is to represent the three icons of contemporary — three contemporary heroes, that they have lost their freedom for the truth. So they remind us how it’s important to know the truth and to have the courage to know the truth.”
And the governor of Puerto Rico has signed an executive order legalizing medical marijuana. Governor Alejandro García Padilla said in a statement he believed the move would grant many patients “new hope.”