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You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines, or for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation, all without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting? This is only possible with your support. Right now every donation to Democracy Now! will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $25 today, Democracy Now! will get $50 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 in the coming year. Thanks so much. -Amy Goodman
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Around the world, millions of workers took to the streets Monday for May Day, also known as International Workers’ Day. May Day protests were held worldwide, including in France, Kenya, Indonesia, South Korea, Russia and in Turkey, where more than 70 people were arrested in Istanbul. In California, tens of thousands of people marched in the Bay Area, as immigrant workers refused to go to work and students walked out of class.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, more than 30,000 people marched to demand the governor fire Milwaukee County Sheriff Dave Clarke, block anti-immigrant legislation and return driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. At least 140 businesses were shut down across Milwaukee.
In Texas, two dozen people were arrested, including Austin City Councilmember Gregorio Casar, after an 8-hour sit-in at the office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, in protest of anti-immigrant bill SB 4. This is Julie Ann Nitsch.
Julie Ann Nitsch: “I’m a fifth generation Texan, and my family has served this country for a very long time. We didn’t serve and we didn’t come to this country to flee persecution so that we could live in a country where people are stopped, detained and abused because of the color of their skin. SB 4 is disgusting. It’s racist. All law enforcement officers are against it. The only reason why these politicians are pushing it is so that they can get money from a fringe and racist constituency. And they have to be stopped.”
In many cities and rural areas, some immigrants launched a one-day work strike, including in Homestead, Florida, where farm workers refused to work and instead marched to City Hall. Monday’s immigrant-led protests came as newly released data from the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency, known as ICE, shows nearly half of the 675 immigrants arrested in ICE raids in February had either low-level driving convictions or no criminal record at all.
In Portland, Oregon, police arrested at least 25 protesters on Monday, as some demonstrators hurled paint and Pepsi cans at the police. The soda cans were a reference to a Pepsi ad, featuring Kendall Jenner, in which she’s portrayed as a hero after defusing tensions between protesters and police by offering a cop a can of Pepsi.
Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, thousands of protesters blocked traffic and marched downtown to protest austerity measures imposed by the federal fiscal control board.
Pedro J. Irene Maymí: “We are repudiating the measures taken by the government of Puerto Rico and the federal fiscal control board against the workers and those measures they hope to take against workers and the rest of the country.”
We’ll have more voices from the May Day protests in the streets of New York City after headlines.
In news on Syria, Human Rights Watch says Syrian government forces have used chemical nerve agents, such as sarin gas, in attacks at least four times in recent months, including in the April attack on a town that killed 86 people, including dozens of children. Human Rights Watch also says new evidence, including photos and videos of weapon remnants, suggests the April attack came from a Soviet-made, air-dropped chemical bomb specifically designed to deliver sarin. One of the other attacks, on December 12, reportedly killed 64 people. The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons, including in the April attack. Meanwhile, U.S.-led coalition airstrikes continue in Syria. The journalistic monitoring group Airwars says these airstrikes reportedly killed at least two dozen civilians in the final week of April in and around Raqqa. U.S.-led coalition airstrikes also continue in Mosul, Iraq, where dozens of civilians were killed by airstrikes launched by the coalition or the U.S.-backed Iraqi Army in the final week of April.
In Afghanistan, more civilians died last year amid the ongoing war than at any time since the United Nations began keeping records in 2009. At least 11,418 civilians died in 2016. Another 660,000 Afghans fled their homes—the highest number of displacements on record. This comes as the White House is considering a plan to deploy an additional 5,000 troops to Afghanistan.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo visited Seoul, South Korea, Monday amid rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. His visit comes as the THAAD missile defense system installed by the U.S. in South Korea is now operational. On Monday, President Trump said he’d be “honored” to meet North Korean President Kim Jong-un. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer later tried to walk back the president’s comments, saying, “Clearly, the conditions are not there right now.” Meanwhile, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has said he might be too busy to accept President Trump’s invitation to the White House. Human rights activists criticized the invitation, saying it condones the thousands of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines since Duterte launched his so-called war on drugs.
The White House is pushing for a vote on a new Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act—even as widespread questions about the plan remain, including whether President Trump understands it. On Monday, President Trump reiterated his claim that the Republican bill would guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. In fact, on Saturday, Republican lawmakers struck a deal that would not protect people with pre-existing conditions, instead allowing insurers to charge them significantly higher premiums. The White House is pushing for a vote as early as Wednesday, even though a number of Republicans came out against the legislation Monday.
In one of his latest interviews, President Trump sparked confusion—and ridicule—by questioning why, exactly, the Civil War was fought, and suggesting former President Andrew Jackson could have averted the war itself—had he not been dead for 16 years by the time it began.
President Donald Trump: “I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little bit later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was—he was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. And he was—he was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said, ’There’s no reason for this.’ People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War—”
Salena Zito: “Yeah, was—”
President Donald Trump: “You think about it, why? People don’t ask that question. But why was there the Civil War? Why could—why could that one not have been worked out?”
The Civil War was fought over the expansion of slavery in the United States. President Jackson was a slaveholder. Princeton University history professor Julian Zelizer said Trump’s comments were the “height of inaccurate historical revisionism.” Trump later doubled down on his statements, tweeting on Monday night, “President Andrew Jackson, who died 16 years before the Civil War started, saw it coming and was angry. Would never have let it happen!”
Fox News has ousted co-president Bill Shine as part of the continued fallout over revelations about sexual harassment at the network. Shine worked closely with former Chair Roger Ailes, who was ousted over the summer after more than 20 women accused him of sexual harassment and professional retaliation. Fox’s former top anchor, Bill O’Reilly, has also been ousted amid sexual harassment accusations. On Monday, however, Fox promoted longtime executive Suzanne Scott, who has been accused in multiple lawsuits of working to cover up Ailes’ sexual harassment.
In Houston, Texas, a federal judge has ordered Harris County to stop imprisoning people on misdemeanor charges because they can’t pay bail, after ruling the bail system was unconstitutional and discriminated against poor defendants. Harris County is the third largest county jail system in the United States.
In Minneapolis, a man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison, after shooting and wounding five Black Lives Matter protesters in 2015 at an occupation at a police precinct over the police killing of Jamar Clark. Prosecutors say 25-year-old Allen Scarsella sent a series of racist texts to friends in the months leading up to his decision to drive over to the protest camp, put on a mask and shoot five of the demonstrators.
Meanwhile, in Texas, family and friends are mourning the death of 15-year-old African-American teenager Jordan Edwards, who was shot in the head by a police officer in a suburb of Dallas on Saturday. The Balch Springs Police Department had initially claimed the officers opened fire while the car carrying the high school freshman was reversing toward the police car. But, in fact, on Monday, the police chief admitted the police officer opened fire while the car was actually moving forward, away from the police.
In Washington, D.C., prosecutors have filed a slew of additional felony and misdemeanor charges against more than 200 people who were arrested at protests during President Trump’s inauguration on January 20. While most of the protesters were already charged with felony rioting, the new charges also include inciting or urging to riot, conspiracy to riot and multiple counts of destruction of property. The legal support group Defend J20 Resistance says the new charges mean protesters are now facing up to 75 years in prison.