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Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump was forced to cancel a rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago Friday after thousands of people staged anti-Trump protests inside and outside the venue. After Trump canceled the event, scuffles broke out, and five people were arrested. One Trump supporter was photographed giving a Nazi salute. Meanwhile, in St. Louis at least 31 people were arrested at a Trump rally.
The protests at Trump’s rallies come ahead of key primaries Tuesday. On the Republican side, the key prizes are Florida and Ohio, where the winner takes all of the states’ delegates. On the Democratic side, delegates are awarded proportionally, with all eyes on Florida, Illinois and Ohio. Here in New York City, Sanders’ supporters, many of them formerly involved with Occupy Wall Street, gathered in Zuccotti Park, the birthplace of Occupy, to phone bank for Sanders. Beka Economopoulos organized the action.
Beka Economopoulos: “We were really inspired by the incredible amount of grassroots momentum and energy that’s been inspired by the Sanders campaign and its critique of Wall Street, of money in politics and a rigged economy. We wanted to extend that conversation as long as possible and engage many more people in this political revolution. So that’s what we’re doing here in Zuccotti Park.”
Hillary Clinton has been forced to walk back statements on former President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan. Speaking on MSNBC, Clinton praised the Reagans’ “low-key advocacy” about HIV/AIDS back in the 1980s.
Hillary Clinton: “And because of both President and Mrs. Reagan—in particular Mrs. Reagan—we started a national conversation, when, before, nobody would talk about it, nobody wanted to do anything about it. And, you know, that, too, is something that I really appreciate, with her very effective, low-key advocacy, but it penetrated the public conscience, and people began to say, 'Hey, we have to do something about this, too.'”
After critics noted Reagan didn’t even mention AIDS until the seventh year of his presidency, Clinton apologized for the remarks, saying she “misspoke” about their record. She credited LGBT activists with starting the national conversation about AIDS.
Clinton also came under attack over the weekend for criticizing rival Bernie Sanders’ record on healthcare reform in the 1990s.
Hillary Clinton: “I always get a little chuckle when I hear my opponent talking about doing it. Well, I don’t know where he was when I was trying to get healthcare in ’93 and ’94.”
Sanders’ supporters were quick to highlight archival footage showing Sanders standing right behind Clinton during an address on healthcare reform in 1993.
In the Turkish capital Ankara, a car bomb attack has killed 37 people, marking the second such attack in the capital in less than a month. No one has taken responsibility for the bombing, but unnamed officials alleged one of the bombers was a female member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. Turkey has vowed a crackdown, launching airstrikes targeting Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, imposing curfews in majority-Kurdish towns and arresting at least 36 people.
In the West African nation of Ivory Coast, militants attacked a beach resort in the south, killing at least 16 people, a number of them foreigners. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Refugees stranded on the Greek-Macedonian border staged a protest after countries along the Balkan route have closed their borders. About 12,000 people are living in a makeshift tent camp that was drenched with rain over the weekend. The refugees chanted “Merkel, Merkel,” calling for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to pressure other countries to open their borders.
Back in Germany, German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced a major setback as an anti-refugee party made historic gains in elections, entering state parliament in all three regions that voted. The elections were seen as a rebuke of Merkel’s policies allowing more than 1 million refugees to enter Germany in the past year.
Israeli airstrikes in Gaza have killed two Palestinian children—a 10-year-old boy and his six-year-old sister. Palestinian officials said Yassin Abu Khoussa was killed by shrapnel as he slept; his sister died in a hospital. The strikes came after Israel accused Palestinian militants of firing rockets toward Israeli communities.
Police on the Japanese island of Okinawa have arrested a U.S. Navy seaman accused of raping a Japanese tourist as she slept at her hotel. Past allegations of sexual assault have been at the center of protests over the presence of U.S. troops and planned construction of a new U.S. military base in Okinawa. Earlier this month, the Japanese government agreed to halt construction on the new base and resume talks with local authorities who oppose it.
In Brazil, more than a million people have rallied to call for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff amid an economic crisis and corruption scandal. A polling firm said a record half-million people rallied in São Paulo alone, while estimates by military police, who have been accused of inflating numbers in the past, put the nationwide turnout at about 3.5 million. Rousseff’s Workers’ Party predecessor, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has been charged with money laundering.
In other news from South America, former Congressmember Keiko Fujimori has increased her lead in Peru’s presidential race after two rivals were disqualified from running. She is the daughter of former right-wing Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, now in prison for crimes including ordering death squads to carry out massacres. On Friday, thousands marched against Keiko Fujimori’s bid ahead of first-round voting on April 10.
Gisela Ortiz: “She was complicit in a dictatorship in which human rights were violated, in which women were sterilized, in which a series of corruption crimes were committed in our country.”
In Alabama, prisoners staged an uprising at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility, stabbing and wounding a warden and a guard, and setting at least one fire. The riot comes amid long-standing complaints about overcrowding in Alabama’s prisons, which currently hold nearly twice as many prisoners as they are designed to contain.
President Obama has narrowed his list of potential Supreme Court nominees to three names and could announce a pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia as early as this week. The three finalists are federal appeals court judges Sri Srinivasan, Merrick Garland and Paul Watford, all of whom are men. Srinivasan was confirmed to his current appeals court post by a unanimous Senate vote of 97 to 0. He would be the first Asian American and first Hindu on the court.
New data from NASA shows global temperatures last month smashed previous monthly records, making February the warmest seasonally adjusted month in more than a century of recordkeeping. Meteorologists Jeff Masters and Bob Henson called the report a “bombshell … a true shocker.”
And the investigative journalist, media critic, editor and educator Ben Bagdikian has died at the age of 96. Bagdikian wrote the 1983 book “The Media Monopoly,” about how the consolidation of media outlets by a small number of corporate owners threatened free expression and independent journalism. In 1971, as an editor at The Washington Post, Bagdikian received the Pentagon Papers from whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and transferred them to Alaska Senator Mike Gravel, who entered them into the Congressional Record. Speaking in 2007, Gravel told the story of how Bagdikian gave him the top-secret documents, which exposed the true history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Mike Gravel: “And Bagdikian had this plan. We’re going to meet someplace out in the country, you know, Rock Creek Park in a dark—I say, 'Wait a second, Ben. I've got to tell you. I’ve got a little more experience in this than you have. What we’re going to do, here’s how we’re going to transfer the papers: You’re going to come at 12:00 at night under the marquee of the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. At 12:00 you park your car there. I will come up with my car. You’ll open your trunk. I’ll open my trunk. And I’ll pop the papers in, and I’ll race off. That’s the way we’ll do it, before God and country, and they won’t even know what happened.’”
Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel speaking about Ben Bagdikian. To hear the whole story of how Gravel received the Pentagon Papers, go to democracynow.org. Ben Bagdikian died at home in Berkeley, California, on Friday at the age of 96.