Tuesday, April 28, 2015

State of Emergency Declared As Baltimore Burns
William M. Welch and Melanie Eversley
USA TODAY 2:09 a.m. EDT April 28, 2015

Residents of Baltimore are dealing with the damage left behind by thousands of rioters who looted stores and set buildings on fire.

The governor of Maryland declared a state of emergency Monday as the streets of Baltimore erupted in violence after the funeral for an African-American man who died of injuries he sustained while in police custody.

Just hours after Freddie Gray was laid to rest, protests against excessive police use of force deteriorated into destructive riots with demonstrators hurling rocks at police, destroying patrol cars and looting and torching stores.

"All are going to be OK but sustained heavy damage to their bodies," Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said in a news conference late Monday night.

One officer was hit in the head and another suffered severe damage to his knee cap, Batts said.

The police commissioner said at the news conference that he believes that the tensions were on the down side and on their way to dying down.

Batts said it was his understanding that a number of gangs met and decided that each group would "take out a police officer" after the Monday's funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who suffered a fatal spinal injury after being in custody with Baltimore city police.

Batts implored parents to take control of their children who might be taking part in the rioting and said what troubled him was that the structures that were being destroyed took great effort to erect in ailing communities that need them. Many communities do not survive riots, he said.

"I've seen cities that haven't recovered 50 years later," he said.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in the city and activated the National Guard to assist city and state police, calling it a "last resort'' to restore order.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called the rioters "thugs" and said the city was imposing a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew starting Tuesday. She said she asked Hogan to send in the Guard.

"We are deploying every resource possible to gain control of the situation and ensure peace moving forward,'' she said.

Referring to the looters, she said during a television interview: "I don't understand how stealing jeans is going to bring justice to Mr. Gray."

She said the city would get to the bottom of whether the rioters were from Baltimore or from outside the city. "We won't stand by and let our community be destroyed," Rawlings-Blake said.

The Baltimore Orioles postponed a scheduled Monday night game with the Chicago White Sox. The violence was taking place about two and a half miles from the Camden Yards baseball stadium that is home to the Orioles.

Police said more than two dozen people were arrested. The city's schools were canceled for Tuesday.

After darkness fell, a large building under construction near a Baptist church was engulfed in fire. A spokesman for the mayor, Kevin Harris, said the fire was related to the riots. He said the Mary Harvin Transformation Center was under construction and that no one was believed to be in the building at the time. The center is described online as a community-based organization that supports youth and families.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch dispatched the Justice Department's civil rights chief and director of the agency's community policing office to Baltimore in wake of rioting there. She condemned "senseless acts of violence.''

"In the days ahead, I intend to work with leaders throughout Baltimore to ensure that we can protect the security and civil rights of all residents,'' Lynch said. "And I will bring the full resources of the Department of Justice to bear in protecting those under threat, investigating wrongdoing, and securing an end to violence.''
Baltimore Enlists National Guard and Curfew In Attempt to Contain African American Rebellion
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
New York Times
APRIL 27, 2015

BALTIMORE — Maryland’s governor activated the National Guard on Monday and the city of Baltimore announced a curfew for all residents as a turbulent day that began with the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, the nation’s latest symbol of police brutality, ended with rioting by rock-throwing youths, arson, looting and at least 15 police officers injured.

The violence that shook the city broke out in the late afternoon in the Mondawmin neighborhood of northwest Baltimore, where Mr. Gray’s funeral had taken place. Angry residents threw bottles, rocks and chunks of concrete at officers who lined up in riot gear with shields deployed. Cars were set on fire, store windows were shattered, a CVS drugstore was looted, and the cafe inside a century-old Italian deli was destroyed. Trouble also erupted at the city’s Lexington Market.

By nighttime, the chaos seemed to be competing with a push for calm. Looters pulled junk food from convenience stores within a few blocks of police in riot gear and cars that had been set ablaze. At the same time, young men in black T-shirts from a local antiviolence group urged their neighbors to go back inside. A large fire burned in east Baltimore, consuming a partly built development project of the Southern Baptist Church that was to include housing for the elderly.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake arrived at the scene of the blaze and said it was under investigation. “We don’t know if it is related to the riots,” she said.

Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency, and the Maryland State Police, who took command of the response, said they would ask for 5,000 law enforcement officials from the mid-Atlantic region to help quell the violence. Some National Guard units were to arrive on Monday night, with others deploying on Tuesday in armored Humvees.

In Washington, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, on her first day on the job, briefed President Obama, who in turn called Governor Hogan. Mr. Hogan said the president urged him to have law enforcement officers exercise restraint, and he assured the president they would. “But,” the governor added, “I assured him we weren’t going to stand by and allow our city of Baltimore to be taken over by thugs.”

City officials said schools would be closed on Tuesday for the safety of children. At City Hall, Ms. Rawlings-Blake, sounding exhausted and exasperated after days of appealing for calm, announced that a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew would be imposed for a week beginning on Tuesday. The city already has a curfew for juveniles under age 17.

“Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs,” she said. “I’m at a loss for words. It is idiotic to think that by destroying your city that you’re going to make life better for anybody.” The police said that at least 27 people had been arrested.

Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard when riots broke out after the funeral of Freddie Gray.

It was the second time in six months that a state called out the National Guard to enforce order in a city shaken by violence after a black man died in an encounter with police. Missouri deployed the guard in Ferguson in August after a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, and then again in November when violence greeted the news that a grand jury had not indicted the officer who shot Mr. Brown.

At a late night news conference, the Baltimore police commissioner, Anthony W. Batts, noted that Ferguson is a much smaller city than Baltimore, which covers 80 square miles. “We were pulled so thin,” he said, adding, “We had opposite ends of the city pulling us at the same time.”

The police said early in the day that they had received a “credible threat” that members of various gangs, including the Black Guerrilla Family, Bloods and Crips, had “entered into a partnership to ‘take out’ law enforcement officers.” But officers kept a low profile in the neighborhood during Mr. Gray’s funeral. The police also said that a flier circulated on social media called for a period of violence on Monday afternoon to begin at the Mondawmin Mall and move toward City Hall downtown.

Warned by the police of possible violence, the University of Maryland campus in downtown Baltimore closed early, as did the Mondawmin Mall. The Orioles postponed their home game against the Chicago White Sox. The Baltimore police vowed the authorities would take “appropriate measures” to keep officers and the neighborhood safe.

“You’re going to see tear gas. You’re going to see pepper balls. We’re going to use appropriate methods to make sure we can preserve the safety of that community,” a spokesman, Capt. J. Eric Kowalczyk, said at a news conference. Fifteen police officers were injured, some with broken bones, and one was unresponsive, according to the department.

Pastor Jamal Bryant, who delivered Mr. Gray’s eulogy, came back to the neighborhood after the burial on Monday afternoon to appeal for calm. He said he would send teams of men from his church, the Empowerment Temple, to help keep the peace.

“This is not what the family asked for, today of all days,” Mr. Bryant said. “For us to come out of the burial and walk into this is absolutely inexcusable.” He said he was “asking every young person to go back home,” adding, “it’s frustration, anger and it’s disrespect for the family.”

Mr. Gray’s death on April 19, a week after sustaining a spinal cord injury while in police custody, has opened a deep wound in this majority-black city, where Ms. Rawlings-Blake and Mr. Batts — both of whom are black — have struggled to reform a police department that has a history of aggressive, sometimes brutal, treatment of black men.

Mr. Gray was chased and restrained by police on bicycles at the Gilmor Homes on the morning of April 12; a cellphone video of his arrest showed him being dragged into a police van, seemingly limp and screaming in pain. The police have acknowledged that he should have received medical treatment immediately at the scene of the arrest and have also said that he rode in the van unbuckled.

After his arrival at the police station, medics rushed him to the hospital, where he slipped into a coma and died . His family has said that 80 percent of his spinal cord was severed, and his larynx was crushed. The death spawned a week of protests that had been largely peaceful until Saturday night, when demonstrators — who had spent the afternoon marching through the city — scuffled with officers in riot gear outside Camden Yards, the baseball park. Authorities attributed the scattered violence that night to outsiders who, Ms. Rawlings-Blake said, “were inciting,” with “ ‘go out there and shut this city down’ kind of messaging.”

But the violence on Monday was much more devastating and profound, a blow for a city whose leaders had been hoping Mr. Gray’s funeral would show the nation its more peaceful side. At the New Shiloh Baptist Church, Mr. Gray lay in an open white coffin, in a white shirt and tie, with a pillow bearing a picture of him in a red T-shirt, against a backdrop of a blue sky and doves, with the message “Peace y’all.”

The service was more than a celebration of Mr. Gray’s short life; it was a call for peace and justice — and for residents of Baltimore to help lead the nationwide movement for better police treatment of black men that emerged last August after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

“The eyes of this country are all on us, because they want to see whether we have the stuff to make this right,” said William Murphy, the lawyer representing the Gray family, who is a fixture in legal and political circles here. “They want to know whether our leadership is up to the task.”

Much of that leadership was seated in the pews, including Ms. Rawlings-Blake and Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, who was one of the speakers.

Also among the mourners were Kweisi Mfume, a former congressman and chief of the N.A.A.C.P.; three aides to President Obama; and several family members of others killed by the police in various parts of the country, including Erica Garner, daughter of Eric Garner, a man who died after a police officer put him in a chokehold last year on Staten Island. She said she had come “to stand with the family of Freddie Gray. It’s unfortunate, but I feel we have a connection.” In his eulogy, Mr. Bryant spoke of the plight of poor, young black men like Mr. Gray, living “confined to a box” made up of poor education, lack of job opportunities and racial stereotypes — “the box of thinking all black men are thugs and athletes and rappers.”

“He had to have been asking himself, ‘What am I going to do with my life?’ ” Mr. Bryant said. “He had to feel at age 25 like the walls were closing in on him.”

Mr. Bryant insisted that Mr. Gray’s death would not “be in vain.” He vowed that Baltimore residents would “keep demanding justice” but also issued a pointed rebuke to the congregation, telling members that black people must take control of their lives and force the government and police to change.

“This is not the time for us as a people to be sitting on the corner drinking malt liquor,” he roared, as his voice rose and the congregation, clapping, rose to its feet. “This is not the time for us to be playing the lottery or at the horsing casino, this is not the time for us to be walking down with our pants hanging down.”

He said, “Get your black self up and change this city!” and added, “I don’t know how you can be black in America and be silent. With everything we’ve been through, ain’t no way in the world you can sit here and be silent in the face of injustice.”

But as the day went on, the mood changed. The violence appears to have begun inside the Mondawmin Mall. Erica Ellis, 23, who works in a Game Stop store there, said the mall was shut down at 2 p.m., not long after Mr. Gray’s funeral cortege left for his burial.

She said she went outside and saw a big line of police officers and hundreds of young people who started throwing rocks and bricks. But police did not respond immediately, she said. “The police officers were trying as hard as they can not to hurt the people’s children,” she said.

At the corner of North Fulton and West North Avenues, looters could be seen breaking into stores and walking out with cases of food and water while hundreds of police officers in riot gear gathered about four blocks away.

When a pair of police cruisers tried to enter the area, young men threw bottles. Several of the men wore surgical masks. Some carried baseball bats, others carried pipes. While several people held signs that said “Stop the war,” protesting peacefully, the rising chaos surrounded them: a broken-down BMW sat empty in the middle of the street, shards of glass from convenience store windows lay on the pavement and a young man carrying bolt cutters walked by.

Residents looked on aghast. Not far from the Gilmor Homes, the public housing development where Mr. Gray was first arrested, Chris Malloy, who lives in the area, said he was angry at the police and the looters — all at once.

“All they had to do was march, but they did this,” he said, sounding disgusted, as the CVS store burned nearby. “You can take stuff out of the store, but why do you have to burn it down?”

Ron Nixon, Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Stephen Babcock contributed reporting.
Rebellion Spreads in Baltimore After Funeral of African American Who Died in Police Custody
BY TOM FOREMAN JR. AND AMANDA LEE MYERS
ASSOCIATED PRESS
04/27/2015 11:59 PM  04/27/2015 11:59 PM

Rioters plunged part of Baltimore into chaos Monday, torching a pharmacy, setting police cars ablaze and throwing bricks at officers hours after thousands mourned the man who died from a severe spinal injury he suffered in police custody.

The governor declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard to restore order, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, in her first day on the job, said she would send Justice Department officials to the city in coming days. A weeklong, daily curfew was imposed beginning Tuesday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., the mayor said, and Baltimore public schools announced that they would be closed on Tuesday. At least 15 officers were hurt, and some two dozen people were arrested. Two officers remained hospitalized, police said.

"The National Guard represents the last resort in restoring order," Gov. Larry Hogan told a news conference. "I have not made this decision lightly."

Officers wearing helmets and wielding shields occasionally used pepper spray to keep the rioters back. For the most part, though, they relied on line formations to keep protesters at bay.

Monday's riot was the latest flare-up over the mysterious death of Freddie Gray, whose fatal encounter with officers came amid the national debate over police use of force, especially when black suspects are involved. Gray was African-American. Police have declined to specify the races of the six officers involved in his arrest, all of whom have been suspended with pay while they are under investigation.

Emergency officials were constantly thwarted as they tried to restore calm in the affected parts of the city of more than 620,000 people. Firefighters trying to put out a blaze at a CVS store were hindered by someone who sliced holes in a hose connected to a fire hydrant, spraying water all over the street and nearby buildings. Later Monday night, a massive fire erupted in East Baltimore that a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake initially said was connected to the riots. He later texted an AP reporter saying officials are still investigating whether there is a connection.

The Mary Harvin Transformation Center was under construction and no one was believed to be in the building at the time, said the spokesman, Kevin Harris. The center is described online as a community-based organization that supports youth and families.

The smell of burned rubber wafted in the air in one neighborhood where youths were looting a liquor store. Police stood still nearby as people drank looted alcohol. Glass and trash littered the streets, and other small fires were scattered about. One person from a church tried to shout something from a megaphone as two cars burned.

"Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs, who in a very senseless way, are trying to tear down what so many have fought for, tearing down businesses, tearing down and destroying property, things that we know will impact our community for years," said Rawlings-Blake, a lifelong resident of the city.

Gray's family was shocked by the violence and was lying low; instead, they hoped to organize a peace march later in the week, said family attorney Billy Murphy. He said they did not know the riot was going to happen and urged calm.

"They don't want this movement nationally to be marred by violence," he said. "It makes no sense."

Police urged parents to locate their children and bring them home. Many of those on the streets appeared to be African-American youths, wearing backpacks and khaki pants that are a part of many public school uniforms.

The riot broke out just as high school let out, and at a key city bus depot for student commuters around Mondawmin Mall, a shopping area northwest of downtown Baltimore. It shifted about a mile away later to the heart of an older shopping district and near where Gray first encountered police. Both commercial areas are in African-American neighborhoods.

Later in the day, people began looting clothing and other items from stores at the mall, which became unprotected as police moved away from the area. About three dozen officers returned, trying to arrest looters but driving many away by firing pellet guns and rubber bullets.

Downtown Baltimore, the Inner Harbor tourist attractions and the city's baseball and football stadiums are nearly 4 miles away. While the violence had not yet reached City Hall and the Camden Yards area, the Orioles canceled Monday's game for safety precautions.

On Monday night, Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings and about 200 others, mostly men, marched arm-in-arm through a neighborhood littered with broken glass, flattened aluminum cans and other debris, to protest Gray's death. As they got close to a line of police officers, the marchers went down on their knees. After the ministers got back on their feet, they walked until they were face-to-face with the police officers in a tight formation and wearing riot gear.

In a statement issued Monday, Attorney General Lynch said she would send Justice Department officials to the city in coming days, including Vanita Gupta, the agency's top civil rights lawyer. The FBI and Justice Department are investigating Gray's death for potential criminal civil rights violations.

Many who had never met Gray gathered earlier in the day in a Baltimore church to bid him farewell and press for more accountability among law enforcement.

The 2,500-capacity New Shiloh Baptist church was filled with mourners. But even the funeral could not ease mounting tensions.

Police said in a news release sent while the funeral was underway that the department had received a "credible threat" that three notoriously violent gangs are now working together to "take out" law enforcement officers.

A small group of mourners started lining up about two hours ahead of Monday's funeral. Placed atop Gray's body was a white pillow with a screened picture of him. A projector aimed at two screens on the walls showed the words "Black Lives Matter & All Lives Matter."

The service lasted nearly two hours, with dignitaries in attendance including former Maryland representative and NAACP leader Kweisi Mfume and current Maryland Rep. John Sarbanes.

With the Rev. Jesse Jackson sitting behind him, the Rev. Jamal Bryant gave a rousing and spirited eulogy for Freddie Gray, a message that received a standing ovation from the crowded church.

Bryant said Gray's death would spur further protests, and he urged those in the audience to join.

"Freddie's death is not in vain," Bryant said. "After this day, we're going to keep on marching. After this day, we're going to keep demanding justice."

Gray was arrested after making eye contact with officers and then running away, police said. He was held down, handcuffed and loaded into a van without a seat belt. Leg cuffs were put on him when he became irate inside.

He asked for medical help several times even before being put in the van, but paramedics were not called until after a 30-minute ride. Police have acknowledged he should have received medical attention on the spot where he was arrested, but they have not said how his spine was injured.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/article19698738.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, April 27, 2015

Amid Rebellion, Maryland Governor Will Deploy National Guard To Baltimore
APRIL 27, 2015 4:38 PM ET
EYDER PERALTA

People walked past burning cars near the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and North Avenue in Baltimore. Riots have erupted in Baltimore following the funeral service for Freddie Gray, who died last week while in Baltimore Police custody.

(This post was last updated at 10:20 p.m. ET.)

A day of mourning gave way to an evening of riots and looting in Baltimore on Monday, where Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and deployed the National Guard.

Just hours after Freddie Gray's funeral, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets, burning police cars, looting stores and facing off with police. Television images showed those demonstrators throwing rocks, bricks and bottles at a line of police officers in riot gear.

In a press conference, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said there was a big difference between what is happening today and the peaceful protests that have taken place over the past week.

"Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs, who in a very senseless way are trying to tear down what so many have fought for," Rawlings-Blake said.

The mayor has instituted a curfew that begins at 10 p.m. ET. tomorrow and goes until 5 a.m. ET. That curfew will be in place for one week. The National Guard is expected to start streaming into the city tonight.

Images from a television helicopter showed some demonstrators destroying a police vehicle. They showed others looting a CVS pharmacy, a Rite-Aid and small shops. What started as a confrontation between perhaps a hundred protesters and riot police quickly turned into a melee covering multiple neighborhoods in the city.

Baltimore police said that 15 officers had been hurt in the clashes. Some suffered broken bones and two of them are still hospitalized.

"This is not OK," said Eric Kowalczyk, the agency's chief spokesman. "We will find these people who are responsible and we will put them in jail."

A police spokesman added that about two dozen people have been arrested.

As we reported, protesters have taken to Baltimore streets to demand justice for Gray, who suffered a fatal spine injury while he was in police custody. An investigation is still ongoing.

Gray's funeral was held less than a mile from one of the protest sites.

Update at 10:15 p.m. ET Massive Fire:

A huge fire has consumed a senior citizen center that was under construction in East Baltimore, but police have been unable to connect it to the riots thus far, the Baltimore Sun reports.

"At least 10 firefighting companies were attempting to control the blaze, at the corner of North Chester and East Lanvale streets, and keep it from spreading to nearby houses, firefighters said....

"The senior housing project, planned as roughly 60 apartments and a community center, has been in the works since at least 2006."

Update at 9:15 p.m. ET. 'Last Resort':

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said that he did not take the decision to deploy the National Guard into Baltimore.

"The national guard represents a last resort in order to restore order," Hogan said.

Officials said National Guard will move into the city overnight. State Police said that that they will likely need about 1,500 guards to restore order. The National Guard is making about 5,000 guards available.

Update at 9:11 p.m. ET. 'A Disservice' To Gray's Family:

"Those who commit violent actions, ostensibly in protest of the death of Freddie Gray, do a disservice to his family, to his loved ones, and to legitimate peaceful protestors who are working to improve their community for all its residents."

That's a statement from the country's new Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

She added that the department stands ready to provide any help necessary, including completing an investigation into the Freddie Gray case.

"In the days ahead, I intend to work with leaders throughout Baltimore to ensure that we can protect the security and civil rights of all residents," she said. "And I will bring the full resources of the Department of Justice to bear in protecting those under threat, investigating wrongdoing, and securing an end to violence."

Update at 8:25 p.m. ET. 'Not Going To Solve The Problems':

Robyn Barnes, a Baltimore, resident tells NPR's Jennifer Ludden that he's a "wreck."

"My nerves is on edge because of all this foolishness," he said. "This is not going to solve the problems that we have with law enforcement."

Update at 7:51 p.m. ET. Looters At Mondawmin Mall:

Police say that they have received reports that "several people are inside Mondawmin Mall looting and destroying property."

Television images showed a group of people streaming into the mall

Update at 7:06 p.m. ET. A State Of Emergency:

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency. and has activated the National Guard to "address the growing violence and unrest in Baltimore City."

Hogan will hold a press conference at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Update at 6:45 'Just A Struggle':

Mo Jackson, a 22-year-old protester, tells NPR that the protest he joined was peaceful.

But police officers, he said, shot paint balls at them and in retaliation they threw rocks.

He said this anger has been building for decades.

"This has just been a struggle," Jackson said. "Every year, cops kill innocent people. Cops lock you up. It's oppression.

He said he came out to protest because this is the first time that the national spotlight has been on Baltimore.

"This is not the place you want to raise your kid at this moment in time," he said. "Because you feel like when you grow up they are going through the same thing you go through.... we don't have nothing out here."

Update at 6:26 p.m. ET. Orioles Game Postponed:

A major league baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox has been postponed because of the violence.

Update at 6:22 p.m. ET. National Guard On Alert:

In a statement, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said the violence seen today "will not be tolerated," so he has put the state's National Guard on alert.

"I strongly condemn the actions of the offenders who are engaged in direct attacks against innocent civilians, businesses and law enforcement officers," Hogan said. "There is a significant difference between protesting and violence and those committing these acts will be prosecuted under the fullest extent of the law."

Update at 5:44 p.m. ET. Threat From Gangs:

Earlier today, Baltimore police issued press release saying they had received a "credible threat" against their officers.

According to the release, "various gangs including the Black Guerilla Family, Bloods, and Crips have entered into a partnership to 'take out' law enforcement officers."

Update at 5:36 p.m. ET. 'Bring Your Children Home':

The Baltimore Sun reports that violent protests today began near Mondawmin Mall in Baltimore. According to the paper, a widely circulated flier previewed a demonstration modeled after "The Purge," a film about "what would happen if all laws were suspended."

On Twitter, police said that a large number of "juveniles" were involved in the melee, so they were asking parents to "bring your children home."

Update at 5:22 p.m. ET. 'Not What Baltimore Stands For':

Rev. Jamal Bryant, a religious leader in Baltimore, said the violent protests are "not what Baltimore stands for."

"It's disappointing," he said. And it's "not what the family asked for" at Gray's funeral.

They wanted today to be about "sacred closure," he added, and it has instead turned into a day of violence.

"Violence is never the answer for justice," Bryant said.

Update at 4:58 p.m. ET. Cars On Fire:

Helicopter images from WBAL-TV showed one police car on fire.

Baltimore Police said they were "deploying resources to ensure everyone remains safe."
Baltimore Police, Protesters Clash; 15 Officers Hurt
John Bacon and William M. Welch
USA TODAY
10:15 p.m. EDT April 27, 2015

Firefighters in Baltimore worked to extinguish the flames and smoke at a looted

Rioters in Baltimore hurled rocks at police, destroyed patrol cars and looted and burned stores as demonstrations over the death of a black man in police custody turned violent Monday.

Police said 15 officers were injured and two remained hospitalized Monday evening. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in the city and activated the National Guard to assist city and state police, calling it a "last resort'' to restore order.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called the rioters "thugs" and said the city was imposing a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew starting Tuesday. She said she asked Hogan to send in the Guard.

"We are deploying every resource possible to gain control of the situation and ensure peace moving forward,'' she said.

The Baltimore Orioles postponed a scheduled Monday night game with the Chicago White Sox. The violence was taking place about two and a half miles from the Camden Yards baseball stadium that is home to the Orioles.

Police said more than two dozen people were arrested. The city's schools were canceled for Tuesday.

After darkness fell, a large building under construction near a Baptist church was engulfed in fire. A spokesman for the mayor, Kevin Harris, said the fire was related to the riots. He said the Mary Harvin Transformation Center was under construction and that no one was believed to be in the building at the time. The center is described online as a community-based organization that supports youth and families.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch dispatched the Justice Department's civil rights chief and director of the agency's community policing office to Baltimore in wake of rioting there. She condemned "senseless acts of violence.''

"In the days ahead, I intend to work with leaders throughout Baltimore to ensure that we can protect the security and civil rights of all residents,'' Lynch said. "And I will bring the full resources of the Department of Justice to bear in protecting those under threat, investigating wrongdoing, and securing an end to violence.''

Dozens of people could be seen throwing bricks, rocks and other objects at officers and at patrol cars with officers inside just hours after funeral services for Freddie Gray. Some demonstrators attacked a stopped police car, leaping on the roof and hood and smashing windows. At least two other police vehicles were set on fire.

Police officers moved in and took down several people near the damaged car. But no police could be seen as rioters looted stores including a CVS pharmacy, a check cashing store, a liquor store and a cell phone store.

A short time later, smoke billowed from the broken windows of the pharmacy. Police said via Twitter that rioters cut a hose firefighters were using to battle the blaze.

Police said on Twitter that looters were "continuing to break into businesses and set cars on fire'' in the area, and that they were responding to reports of looting inside Mondawmin Mall.

The rioting came after days of protests over the death of Gray, 25, who suffered a fatal spinal injury after being taken into custody by Baltimore city police. It was the latest in a series of deadly encounters with police around the country that has triggered a national debate over the use of force, especially against suspects who are black.

Linda Singh, adjunct general of the Maryland National Guard, said they were bringing in Guard troops in armoreed Humvee vehicles. "We are going to be out in massive force,'' she said.

As night approached, Baltimore police used Twitter to describe protesters as "a violent and aggressive group'' and urged citizens to avoid the area.

Numerous police officers in riot gear responded to the demonstrations near a mall in northwest Baltimore. Police described many of the protesters as juveniles.

A flier circulated on social media called for a period of violence Monday afternoon to begin at the Mondawmin Mall and move downtown toward City Hall, Associated Press reported. Outside the mall, a young person threw a flaming trash can at the line of officers.

The University of Maryland Baltimore shut down its campus, hours after city police announced a "credible threat" that local gangs were targeting police officers.

The police department said the Criminal Intelligence Unit had obtained information indicating "members of various gangs including the Black Guerilla Family, Bloods and Crips have entered into a partnership to 'take out' law enforcement officers."

The department said law enforcement agencies and officers should take appropriate precautions. It was not clear if the threat to officers was directly tied to the concern for safety at the school.

The campus shut down at 2 p.m. "at the recommendation of the BPD." The school cited unidentified "activities (that) may be potentially violent and UMB could be in the path of any violence.

"The safety of our students and employees is of paramount importance please vacate the campus as soon as possible."

The schools alert was issued shortly after the funeral of Freddie Gray, which drew thousands of mourners to the downtown Baltimore church.

Gray's death April 19 while in police custody set off a week of protests. Most of the protest were quiet — until Saturday night. That protest began peacefully with more than 1,000 people rallying at City Hall. Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said he moved through the crowd, promising that his office was making systemic changes.

Batts, who is black, said the organized protest had essentially wrapped up when tense confrontations resulted in violence. He has blamed the violence on "agitators."

The protesters "became very violent. They began to throw objects," Batts said Saturday night. "They picked up aluminum barricades and smashed windows at our bars and pubs."

Patrol cars were smashed. Six police officers suffered minor injuries; 34 people were arrested.

Batts said some residents moved between police and the angry crowd, urging the protesters not to damage the city. He commended police officers for showing "tremendous restraint" and city residents for helping tamp down the unrest.

"I am proud of our residents and our police officers," Batts said. "The vast majority of residents out here did a good job. ... A small number of people felt like they had to turn this into an ugly day."
Xenophobic Campaigners Unskilled People
April 25, 2015 Opinion & Analysis
Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu

THE violent xenophobic attacks in South Africa had subsided at the time of writing.
The bloody campaign had spread from Durban in KwaZulu-Natal to Johannesburg by the end of last week when four thugs literally butchered a helpless Mozambican, Emmanuel Sithole, in Alexandra Township.

We should thank the Lord that the culprits were arrested about four hours after the dastardly deed. It is certainly every decent person’s prayer and hope that their trial will be before a court that will be openly biased towards justice and not towards leniency as was the case with the famous, or should we say notorious, Oscar Pistorious’ verdict.

A great deal of emotional debate has been generated by the xenophobic armed wave which followed a public speech by the Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, in which he disparagingly described foreign black people as lice, and that they must return to their respective countries.

The xenophobic campaigners accused black foreigners of taking jobs and business opportunities that could have gone to indigenous black South Africans. In 2008, a similar xenophobic campaign resulted in several scores of black foreigners getting killed in that land, which is Zimbabwe’s southern neighbour. Many were maimed by the xenophobes.

Many Zimbabweans say that the African National Congress (ANC) government in particular and black South Africans in general are not thankful to Zimbabwe for the support they gave the ANC during the difficult days of the liberation struggle.

The ANC is Africa’s oldest liberation movement, having been founded in January 1912. During its protracted liberation struggle, it was supported by virtually every African country. The only exception was Malawi whose founding president, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, chose to cooperate with the South African Boer regime to the extent of establishing diplomatic ties with Pretoria.

The ANC opened representative’s offices in Algeria, Cairo, Libya, Rome, Lusaka, Angola, Mozambique, London, Tanzania, the German Democratic Republic, Cuba, Ghana, Zimbabwe, India and a few other countries whose governments openly opposed that country’s universally condemned apartheid regime.

The basic understanding between the ANC and those friendly states was that they would continue their friendly relations with a free South Africa under the ANC. That was the case with other liberation organisations.

It is not correct to say or imply that any liberation movement undertook to have a migration policy that would allow nationals of friendly or supportive states to flood their countries’ jobs markets.

I stand to be corrected on the sensitive issue that I believe that African solidarity was based on the belief that the security of independent African states could not be guaranteed as long as there was an African country still under colonial or white minority settler rule.

Zimbabwe’s, Mozambique’s or Angola’s political security and national sovereignty could not be guaranteed for as long as South Africa was ruled by a racist settler minority.

Our support for the South African liberation struggle was not merely motivated by our African brotherly wish to see South Africans enjoy freedom and democracy, but it was motivated also by our wish to secure our borders so that we could have a friendly and free neighbour.

Talking about borders brings us to the number of independent African states: Angola, Algeria, Benin, Chad, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Congo, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Lesotho, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Senegal, Seychelles, Tanzania, Togo, Sudan, South Sudan, Mauritania, Zambia, Zimbabwe plus a couple of little Atlantic Ocean islands and Djibouti.

The boundaries of these nations were not drawn by us (Africans) but by European colonial powers after their 1884-85 Berlin conference which authorised them to carve up the African continent among themselves. Only two countries, Liberia and Ethiopia remained uncolonised.

Africa later adopted the same boundaries except for the recently created state of South Sudan and the separation of Rwanda and Burundi.

The Organisation of African Unity’s Charter upheld these colonial boundaries, a decision that did not only strengthen the colonialists’ divide and rule strategy, but gave much respect to the tragic political philosophy of micro-nationalism.

It is that very same mentality that has made black African brothers to become aliens to one another simply because of the colonial boundaries that created more than 50 micro-states throughout the African continent.

The Shona people of Mozambique today regard the Shona people in Zimbabwe as foreigners and vice versa. The Kalanga people in Botswana now seldom acknowledge their blood relationship with those in Zimbabwe. The Vendas in South Africa call those in Zimbabwe and Mozambique aliens, no; they derogatorily call them “Makirimana”

Meanwhile, the Zulus in South Africa call the Ndebele speaking black people of Zimbabwe “izilwanyana zikaMzilikazi” (Mzilikazi’s insects), hence a King Zwelithini’s description of black alien Africans in South Africa “lice”.

In South Africa itself, the Zulu king, Tshaka, tried to create a macro-state through military conquest but was cut short by his brothers’ assegais in 1828. The brothers were sooner than later defeated by white settlers who wielded much better military weapons than the Zulu assegais and ox hide shields. The Boers later created a tiny Zululand and reduced the authority of the territory’s tribal leaders, predecessors of King Zwelithini.

King Zwelithini is a socio-political product of that micro-state colonial mentality, and cultural descendant of the militarily aggressive Tshaka, Dingane, Mpande, Cetshwayo royal Zulu lineage.

As a king, he is by duty protective of his mini- kingdom which is ironically an integral part of South Africa whose ANC government is (or professes to be) Pan-Africanist, hence its relatively liberal immigration policy.

The most unfortunate mistake the xenophobic campaigners make is to vent their frustration and anger on helplessly defenceless foreign black people some of whom are in South Africa quite lawfully.

The correct measure for them to take should be to form a political party with a migration policy that is opposed to that of the ANC government. If the feelings of the black majority are that alien blacks should be deported from South Africa, such a political party could replace the ANC government through the ballot.

For its part, the ANC government would be well advised to work through Sadc to promote regional economic integration as a part of its foreign policy objectives. Regional employment opportunities or generation could be a part of that regional economic integration programme. It can take the experience of Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) as a guide.

It is important for the ANC to appreciate that South Africa, being the Southern African region’s most economically developed country, and being the richest in terms of per capita income, cannot afford to have either poor or politically unstable neighbours.

The old saying that “a rich man’s house is only secure as long as he ensures that there is food on his poor neighbour’s tables” applies just as well to states. If the rich man is stingy, his poor neighbours will steal most of, if not all, his riches because necessity knows no law.

Zimbabweans, for their part, had better learn one basic truth about chiefs or kings, governments or municipal councils. It is that their basic responsibility is to promote and protect the interests of their subjects or nationals or ratepayers, not those of foreigners.

That is as true as parents who protect and promote their children’s interests and welfare and not those of their neighbour’s children. We should not expect black South African police or army to shoot South African xenophobic campaigners to protect Zimbabweans, Ethiopians, Congolese, Somalis, Mozambicans or any other foreigner because blood is thicker than water.

Is it possible for a South African police constable or army corporal Zwelakhe Mthembu to shoot his unemployed son who is assaulting a Zimbabwean, Nyikayaramba Mudzengerere, who is employed as a labourer by a local Indian or Chinese-owned shop?  No.

We should face our responsibility to put our socio- economic house in order rather than go begging for refuge and maintenance abroad to the inconvenience of our neighbours. They have their own socio-economic problems.

We should also understand that black people that flood South Africa are, by and large, job-seekers whereas many white people are investors, and have more to offer than we black people in that it is from among them that commerce and industry get technicians, middle and high level managerial personnel than from the black community.

Many kombi touts (owindi) express this socio-economic reality by referring to their clients as makhiwa (varungu) an implied reference to sources of money and employment (white people).

The majority of black Zimbabweans in South Africa are unskilled people in search of menial labour. The majority of South African job-seekers are also unskilled people. These are the majority of xenophobic campaigners, the Zulus. They are a frustrated community segment, and turn on alien black Africans as scapegoats.

If most xenophobic campaigners are from KwaZulu- Natal, that is because the Zulu people are the majority ethnic group in South Africa, hence King Zwelithini’s political- cultural clout.

Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu is a retired, Bulawayo – based journalist. He can be contacted on cell 0734 328 136 or through email. sgwakuba@gmail.com
Addressing Inequalities Key to Fighting Xenophobia
April 27, 2015
Opinion & Analysis
Ian Scoones

I am currently in South Africa where liberal opinion is reeling from the latest wave of xenophobic attacks in Durban and other cities. Flamed by comments from Zulu King Zwelithini and Edward Zuma, the President’s son, the attacks against migrants, mostly from elsewhere in Africa, have left many dead and a large number displaced.

Zimbabweans have been caught up in this, with reports of some deaths and hundreds of Zimbabweans having fled to camps for safety. This was not supposed to be what the Rainbow Nation was about.

Yet it has happened before — in 2008, and again in 2013, and continues at a low level in the poor, urban contexts where poverty and inequality are extreme on a daily basis. South Africa has attracted many from across the continent, picking up business opportunities, providing labour and contributing to the economy. They come from Nigeria and across West Africa, from Somalia and across the Horn, and of course from other countries in southern and central Africa, including Zimbabwe.

No-one knows how many migrants are living and working in South Africa. The figures being bandied around again this week don’t add up. Some claim there are a between two and five million migrants (quite a range), others say there are three million Zimbabweans. The truth, as I outlined in an earlier blog, is rather less dramatic.

Nevetheless, migration to South Africa, as it has been for a long time, is a crucial part of regional livelihood strategies. In the colonial era, Zimbabweans would come and work in the mines and farms, as part of a pattern of circular migration. This continues today, where “border-crossing” for temporary work or trading is crucial for many Zimbabweans’ livelihoods.

Migration is not new in southern Africa — it is in fact essential for the regional economy, and now on a wider scale with new patterns, and added to be many others from across the continent.

A negative, sometimes violent, reaction to foreign migrants in times of economic hardship is of course not just a South African problem. The current UK election campaign at turns blames migrants for all ills, as well as praises them for their contribution to the economy. There is no doubt that vulnerable migrants in Europe are exploited and paid lower than wages that others can claim, and so act to drive wages down. But they also contribute massively in terms of skills, entrepreneurship, business acumen and hard work. The same applies in South Africa.

But the reactions in Europe and South Africa do not look at the larger problem. This at root is a pattern of uneven economic development on a regional scale, and deep inequalities within nations. The great hopes for the Rainbow Nation in 1994 have not been met. The scars of apartheid are obvious for everyone to see. The symbolic removal of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes — that xenophobe supreme buried in the Matobo hills — from the University of Cape Town has sparked a wider debate on why it is so long after freedom there are only a handful of black professors of South African origin at this most prestigious of universities.

Such inequalities are felt even harder in the townships of Durban and Gauteng, where unemployment is rife, and opportunities are few. Meanwhile great riches are displayed by those living in their protected condominiums in the smarter suburbs of the same city.

Inequality breeds distrust, hate, conflict and violence. Without a state that is able or willing to intervene, address past and current injustices, and embark on realistic redistributions, whether in land, housing, services or economic opportunity more broadly, the only resort is a form of local level violence, where gangs and militia rule.

The absence so far of action and response from the South African state in this recent wave of violence is shocking, and the complacency of the elite is also palpable.

Last weekend a link was made between conflicts in other parts of the continent, with the warnings reported that there would be “pay back” from Boko Haram and Al Shabaab on South Africans. Yet these conflicts in Nigeria and in the east African Horn also emerge from local disputes; a sense of injustice and lack of attention from the state. Locals are easy recruits into a wider movement because they offer an alternative, however restrictive and violent, to what is currently on offer; which is either neglect or direct persecution of marginal groups by the state.

Sometimes portrayed as part of “international terror network”, linked to a “global jihad”, as pointed out in an excellent new Institute of Development Studies (at University of Sussex) briefing, such conflicts are actually in their origins and motivations quite local, and based on the consequences of deep and persistent inequalities, including around rights to land and access to services, unaddressed by states.

Zimbabweans are caught up in the current horror in South Africa in large numbers. The Zimbabwean government has sworn to repatriate those who want to come home, while Zimbabwean citizens have protested volubly in a march on Harare’s South African embassy.

Regional economic integration is the dream of Sadc and the AU, but unless South Africa can address its own inequalities, and provide opportunities for migrants in a safe environment and on a level playing field, this will remain a pipe dream. Just as in Europe, closing the borders and discriminating against migrants is not the answer; it’s the underlying inequalities that must be addressed — something that South Africa over 21 years has patently failed to do.

--Ian Scoones is a professor of development studies who teaches in the Institute of Development Studies at University of Sussex, Britain.
Israel Strikes Hezbollah, Syrian Army Targets Near Syria-Lebanon Border
Attack comes hours after an Israeli Air Force aircraft struck a militant cell trying to place an explosive device on Israel's border with Syria.

By Jack Khoury
Haaretz Apr. 27, 2015 | 4:30 AM

Israel struck missile batteries belonging to Hezbollah and the Syrian army in the Qalamoun area, near the Syria-Lebanon border, late Sunday night, according to an Al Jazeera report. Several casualties were reported.

The IDF would not confirm nor deny, saying they do not comment on foreign reports.

The attack comes hours after an Israeli Air Force aircraft struck a militant cell that was trying to place an explosive device on Israel's border with Syria.

Around 9:30 P.M. Israeli troops watching the border noticed four figures approaching the fence between Israel and Syria and placing the bomb. The cell was on the eastern side of the fence, but in effect was on Israeli territory.

The IAF aircraft then struck the cell, killing three of the militants, according to the IDF. In all likelihood the fourth militant was also hit.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to the event that "any attempt to harm our soldiers or our citizens will be met with a decisive response like tonight's IDF operation that prevented a terror attack. I commend the vigilant IDF soldiers that acted quickly and accurately."

The reported airstrike is Israel's second strike on Hezbollah targets in Qalamoun in three days. Israeli Air Force reportedly attacked Syrian army bases where Hezbollah stored long-range missiles late Friday night.

The airstrikes reportedly targeted the bases of the 155th and 65th strategic missile brigades, stationed in Qalamoun, near the Syria-Lebanon border. Residents of nearby cities Yabroud and Qarah reported hearing explosions.

According to an Al Arabiya report, Friday night's strikes were preceded by another attack on Wednesday, targeting a Hezbollah convoy carrying weapons. According to the report, at least one person was killed in that attack.

Last month, in wake of the Lausanne talks concerning Iran's nuclear program, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that "we [in Israel] are not closing our eyes, and we will continue to act against any threat." 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Yemeni Imperialist-backed Minister Rejects Call for Dialog Among Warring Sides
Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:10AM
presstv.ir

The foreign minister for the administration of the Yemeni​ fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, has dismissed a recent call for peace talks among all sides involved in the conflict in the impoverished country.

Riyadh Yaseen told a news conference in London on Sunday that the request made by former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was “unacceptable” after all the destruction he has caused in the Arab state.

“There can be no place for Saleh in any future political talks,” he said.

Yaseen and Hadi have both sought refuge in Saudi Arabia and have backed the Riyadh’s ongoing airstrikes against Yemen.

On Friday, Saleh urged all warring parties, including the Ansarullah fighters of the Houthi movement and the forces loyal to Hadi, to “return to dialogue,” adding that he was ready to reconcile with all Yemeni political factions.

The 73-year-old former Yemeni leader, who stepped down in February 2012, further called on the army and security forces to come under the control of local authorities in each province.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia pushes ahead with its deadly air raids against neighboring Yemen.

In latest developments, Saudi jets attacked the southwestern Yemeni city of Taizz, targeting the presidential palace, a special forces base, a school, and a security center.

Earlier, two civilians were killed in the northwestern province of Sa’ada.

Saudi warplanes also bombed other parts of Yemen, including the southern port city of Aden as well as the presidential complex in the capital Sana’a.

Saudi Arabia launched the air campaign a on March 26 - without a UN mandate - in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and to restore power to Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.

According to latest figures released by the World Health Organization, the death toll from the violence in Yemen since late March has exceeded 1,000.


Former U.N. envoy says Yemen political deal was close before Saudi airstrikes began

Campaign derailed agreement that could have averted conflict

By JOE LAURIA and  MARGARET COKER
Wall Street Journal
April 26, 2015 7:45 p.m. ET

UNITED NATIONS—Yemen’s warring political factions were on the verge of a power-sharing deal when Saudi-led airstrikes began a month ago, derailing the negotiations, the United Nations envoy who mediated the talks said.

Jamal Benomar, who spearheaded the negotiations until he resigned last week, told The Wall Street Journal the Saudi bombing campaign against Iran-linked Houthi rebels has hardened positions on a key point—the composition of an executive body to lead Yemen’s stalled transition. This will complicate new attempts to reach a solution, he said.

“When this campaign started, one thing that was significant but went unnoticed is that the Yemenis were close to a deal that would institute power-sharing with all sides, including the Houthis,” said Mr. Benomar, a Moroccan diplomat.

Mr. Benomar is scheduled to address the U.N. Security Council behind closed doors on Monday and report on the suspended political talks.

Most Yemeni political factions agree talks were progressing in the run-up to the Saudi air campaign, but their views vary on Mr. Benomar’s assertion that a deal was close.

This round of U.N.-brokered talks—which began in January and included 12 political and tribal factions—represented a crucial part of a mission to install a unified government in Yemen, the poorest Arab country and home to al Qaeda’s most dangerous offshoot.

The Houthi rebels, who have overrun significant parts of the country in the past eight months, had agreed to remove their militias from the cities they were occupying under the deal that had been taking shape. The U.N. had worked out details of a new government force to replace them, Mr. Benomar said.

In exchange, Western-backed President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who has since fled the country, would have been part of an executive body that would run the country temporarily, Mr. Benomar said.

The Houthis had agreed to that reduced role for Mr. Hadi until the Saudi military intervention began on March 26. At that point, the Houthis hardened their position on this key point and opposed any role for Mr. Hadi in government, Mr. Benomar said.

Saudi-backed factions have also hardened their positions, saying the Houthis shouldn’t be granted political power.

Several Yemeni political factions, which were also interested in power-sharing, said the military tensions in the capital led to feelings of unease during negotiations. In their takeover of the capital, the Houthis kidnapped members of rival political parties.

“We did not like the Houthi plan on the table, but we were willing to sign it since it reflected reality. It was either that or no deal,” said Mohammed Abulahoum, president of Yemen’s Justice and Building Party.

The air campaign transformed Yemen into a battlefield for a broader contest over regional power between Shiite Iran and Sunni countries led by Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis want to restore Mr. Hadi to the presidency and also support a separate armed political faction named Islah, which is anti-Houthi. Iran supports the Houthis, who abide by a Shiite offshoot of Islam. Many Yemenis accuse both countries of meddling in their affairs.

The Houthis took over the capital San’a and the government and then advanced on the south.As they approached the port city of Aden, where Mr. Hadi had taken refuge, he fled the country and ended up in Saudi Arabia.

Yemen’s troubles mark an abrupt turnabout from what the international community had once hailed as a success story.

The 2011 Arab Spring protests triggered political change in Yemen, a largely peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy. Groups that felt oppressed or excluded for decades under the former regime, such as the Houthis, were supposed to take part in the new government.

But that transition stalled in 2014. In the two months leading up to the Saudi air campaign, the Houthis and other parties insisted on a reduced role for Mr. Hadi, blaming him for the slow pace of reform.

Mr. Hadi, his Saudi allies and other political factions opposed the terms for the presidency being hammered out by Mr. Benomar.

“A very detailed agreement was being worked out, but there was one important issue on which there was no agreement, and that was what to do with the presidency,” Mr. Benomar said. “We were under no illusion that implementation of this would be easy.”

Two other Arab states—Qatar and Morocco—were willing to host new rounds of Yemen peace talks. But after both countries joined the Saudi-led military coalition, the Houthis rejected those venues, according to Mr. Benomar.

President Hadi has suggested that talks resume in the Saudi capital of Riyadh under Saudi auspices. But that was a non-starter for the Houthis.

A senior diplomat familiar with the negotiations said the Saudis also intervened to prevent a power-sharing deal that would include the Houthis and that would give 30 % of the cabinet and parliament to women.

Saudi Arabia declared last week that it was shifting to a new phase in the Yemen campaign more focused on seeking a political solution. But it left open the option of continued military action, and has kept up airstrikes at a robust pace since the declaration.

Mr. Benomar said he would tell the Security Council on Monday that only U.N.-led talks in a neutral location can have any chance of success.

On Saturday, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed of Mauritania was named as the new U.N. envoy for Yemen.

On Sunday, Yemeni officials reported several apparent strikes by the Saudi coalition against Houthi targets amid deadly clashes between Houthi militants and forces aligned with Mr. Hadi.

Strikes hit the capital San’a as well as targets in energy-rich Marib province, officials said. Several southern provinces also saw strikes, including one that hit a convoy of Houthi fighters heading to the southern port city of Aden.


Fighting Intensifies in Yemen in Push to Drive Back Houthi Militia

MOHAMMED MUKHASHAF AND MOHAMMED GHOBARI
ADEN and CAIRO — Reuters
Sunday, Apr. 26 2015, 7:26 PM EDT

Air raids, naval shelling and ground fighting shook Yemen on Sunday in some of the most widespread combat since a Saudi-led alliance intervened last month against Iranian-allied Houthi militia who have seized large tracts of the country.

There were at least five air strikes on military positions and an area near the presidential palace compound in the Houthi-held capital Sanaa at dawn on Sunday, while warships pounded an area near the port of the southern city of Aden, residents said.

“The explosions were so big they shook the house, waking us and our kids up. Life has really become unbearable in this city,” a Sanaa resident who gave his name as Jamal said.

The strikes on Sanaa were the first since the Saudi-led coalition said last week it was scaling back a campaign against the Houthis. But the air raids soon resumed as the Houthis’ nationwide gains had not been notably rolled back, and there has been no visible progress toward peace talks.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter and arch Sunni Muslim regional adversary of Shia Muslim Iran, feels menaced by the Shia Houthi advance across Yemen since last September, when the rebels captured the capital.

The Houthis later forced President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi into exile.

The Saudi-led intervention aims to restore Mr. Hadi and prevent Yemen disintegrating as a state, with al-Qaeda militants thriving in the chaos and one of the world’s busiest oil shipping lanes off the Yemeni coast at risk.

Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan visited King Fahd airbase in Saudi Arabia’s Taif on Sunday and reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the Saudi-led coalition.

“Our only choice is victory in the test of Yemen,” the official WAM news agency quoted him as saying.

Fighters loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have been battling alongside the Houthi rebels.

In London, Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yaseen rejected a call for peace talks issued by Mr. Saleh on Friday and said the Saudi-led military operation had not ended.

“These calls are unacceptable after all of the destruction Ali Abdullah Saleh has caused. There can be no place for Saleh in any future political talks,” Mr. Yaseen told a news conference.

“There will be no deal with the Houthis whatsoever until they withdraw from areas under their control,” he said.

Eyewitnesses in Aden said foreign warships shelled Houthi emplacements around the city’s main commercial port and dockyard, the first time they had been targeted.

Aden residents reported heavy clashes between local armed militia from Yemen’s Sunni south and Houthis backed by army units loyal to Mr. Saleh.

Sources in the militia said they retaliated for the first time with tank and Katyusha rocket fire. Air strikes backed up local militia in clashes near Aden’s international airport.

In the southern province of Dalea, militia said they had fought for hours to retake several rural districts from the Houthis with the help of air strikes. The fighting left around 25 Houthis and six local militiamen dead.

A grouping of armed tribesmen and Sunni Islamist fighters in the strategically important central Yemeni city of Taiz took back several districts from the Houthis in heavy fighting, according to residents there.

Medics reported that four civilians were killed when a rocket landed in a street and shelling damaged a main hospital.

The battlefield setbacks for the Houthis occurred in an area they held largely unopposed for more than a month, and suggest that the air campaign has emboldened armed opposition groups.

Other air strikes hit Houthi bastions in Saada province along Yemen’s northern border with Saudi Arabia, and Saudi ground forces also shelled the city of Haradh in neighboring Hajja province, residents said.

Iran’s navy chief said on Sunday that it would keep warships in the Gulf of Aden for at least several months, a stance that could harden U.S. concerns about Tehran trying to supply advanced weapons to the Houthis.

Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, quoted by the state news agency IRNA, said the ships had deployed to protect shipping routes against piracy. The Islamic Republic denies giving military support to the Houthis.

The United States sent an aircraft carrier and a missile cruiser to support seven U.S. warships already near the Gulf of Aden this week, and warned Iran not to send weapons to Yemen that could be used to threaten shipping traffic.


Houthis suffer losses in Taiz

JEDDAH: ARAB NEWS
Monday 27 April 2015

Forces loyal to the imperialist recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in the strategically important central city of Taiz took back several districts from the Iran-allied Houthi militia amid heavy fighting on Sunday, residents said.

At least 90 were killed in heavy clashes over three Yemeni cities on Sunday between anti-Houthi fighters and forces loyal to deposed leader Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The fighting took place in the Western Yemeni cities Maareb, Taiz and Aden, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

The reverses deal a blow to the Houthis in an area they have controlled largely unopposed for more than a month. They may be a sign that more than a month of Saudi-led airstrikes against Houthi forces have emboldened armed opposition groups.

Saudi Border Guards on Saturday evening killed at least 15 Houthis near the Kingdom’s frontier in two vehicles, a Saudi official told Al Arabiya News Channel.

In the incident, which took place close to Jazan, Border Guards fired at the Houthi squad from an 800-meter distance using an anti-tank weapon, the official told an Al Arabiya correspondent.

The Saudi Border Guards are also currently on alert in Najran, another southwestern border city.

Official sources said the Border Guards in the Harth sector used RPGs and machine guns to destroy the truck which was carrying ammunition for the Houthis.

The truck was loaded with weapons from the headquarters of the 105 Brigade that is now under Houthi control.

Informed sources said the Saudi forces continue bombing the areas where the Yemeni rebels were firing from in order to block their infiltration attempt.

In another development, Yemeni Foreign Minister Riad Yassine rejected a call for peace talks issued by Saleh and said the Saudi-led military campaign had not ended.

“These calls are unacceptable after all the destruction Ali Abdullah Saleh has caused. There can be no place for Saleh in any future political talks,” Yassine told a London news conference.

“Operation Decisive Storm has not ended,” said Yassine. “There will be no deal with the Houthis whatsoever until they withdraw from areas under their control,” such as Sanaa.

He said there would be no need for the coalition to deploy ground troops in Yemen because 70 percent of Yemen was not under Houthi or Saleh’s control.
Nigeria Recalls Envoys in South Africa Over 'Xenophobia'
Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:46PM
presstv.ir

Nigeria has summoned its envoys from South Africa following the recent outbreak of deadly 'xenophobic' violence in the country.

According to a foreign ministry statement dated Saturday, the Nigerian ambassador in Pretoria and the country's consul general in Johannesburg have been asked to return to the West African country for consultations.

The officials have been recalled over the "ongoing xenophobia targeting foreigners” in South Africa that has created "fear and uncertainty in the minds of African migrants,” the statement said.

Nigerian lawmakers have also called for compensation from the South African government for the damaged properties of their citizens in the attacks.

South Africa's department of international relations denounced Abuja’s move as "an unfortunate and regrettable step," stressing that Pretoria is committed to maintaining good ties with Nigeria.

Several weeks of violence in South Africa’s major cities have claimed at least seven lives, with the police failing to control the mobs who keep attacking foreigners.

Displaced people, who fled anti-immigrant violence, are seen in a camp in the village of Primrose, 15 kilometers east of the South African city of Johannesburg, on April 19, 2015. (AFP)
Over 300 people have been arrested by the police in connection with the violence gripping South Africa. The unrest has also forced thousands of immigrants to abandon their homes.

The recent unrest has strained South Africa’s relations with regional governments as many migrants have decided to leave, creating worries in their home countries.

The violence has revived memories of the xenophobic bloodshed in 2008, when 62 people were killed in Johannesburg's townships.
Nepal Earthquake: Death Toll Jumps Over 2,100
Apr 26, 2015, 6:58 AM ET
By CORINNE CATHCART and EMILY SHAPIRO
via GOOD MORNING AMERICA

Rescue crews were racing to pull survivors from the rubble this evening after a powerful earthquake struck Nepal, even as officials said the death toll had soared over 2,100.

The earthquake hit about 50 miles northwest of the capital of Kathmandu just before noon local time, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The magnitude-7.8 quake toppled temples and triggered an avalanche on Mt. Everest.

At least 2,100 people have been killed, the Nepal Interior Ministry told ABC News on Sunday.

More than 1,000 others were injured, said the country's finance minister, Ram Sharan Mahat.

At least 51 were also killed in India, 17 in Tibet, two in Bangladesh and two Chinese citizens died at the Nepal-China border.

Sanjay Karki, country director of Mercy Corps in Nepal, said the ground was still shaking and there were predictions that another strong quake could come.

"The hospital has been overflooded with casualties," Karki said. "People just emptying their houses and you know, coming to open spaces, with blankets, with the children and all."

According to the United Nations, nearly 5 million people were impacted by the earthquake, which was believed to be the worst earthquake in Nepal in more than 80 years.

Abigail Hunter, an American traveling in Bhaktapur, saw people pulling others out of buildings and using motorbikes and small trucks as makeshift ambulances. The earthquake reduced many of the temples inside the city about 30 minutes away from the capital to rubble, she said, adding that she saw "lots of people praying to the actual temples" as aftershocks hit the city.

"The streets are littered with bricks, debris, loads of dust," said Hunter, the sister of an ABC News employee. "[It] was hard to see during the earthquake with all the dust."

A magnitude-6.6 aftershock hit about an hour after the initial earthquake and smaller aftershocks followed in the region for hours.

"Everyone was very scared," she said. "Lots of crying, families trying to find each other."

Ayal Weiner-Kaplow, another American visiting Bhaktapur, said water wasn't flowing in the city and most of the remaining food was dried junk food and crackers. He said he wandered around in search for something to eat until he came upon a restaurant.

"A restaurant owner filled us up -- all of our bottles -- and gave us potatoes, bread, and chicken, refused payment adamantly," he said. "I was actually moved to tears."

PHOTO: Damage in Bhaktapur, an old city just outside Kathmandu, after an earthquake strikes Nepal.
Weiner-Kaplow said most Nepalis were planning to sleep outside tonight, believing their homes were unsafe if another earthquake struck.

The quake also killed 34 in India, six in Tibet, two in Bangladesh, and two on the Nepal-China border.

The quake also triggered an avalanche on Mt. Everest that killed at least 10 climbers and guides and injured many more.

David Arvan, who was set to climb Mt. Everest, said he immediately realized it was an earthquake, after having felt quakes before living in California.

"We sought shelter under a concave boulder until it subsided," he told ABC News by email. "Some people were crying in fear during all the rumbling."

Azim Afif, a climber from Malaysia, was at a base camp when the quake hit and everything in his tent starting shaking.

"We go out and we see a big snowstorm coming to us," he said, adding that he saw "white, nothing else than white."

"We are very lucky to survive," Afif said.

The U.S. government is providing $1 million in assistance, according to the U.S. Embassy in Nepal. Disaster relief teams are en route.

Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement, "To the people in Nepal and the region affected by this tragedy we send our heartfelt sympathies. The United States stands with you during this difficult time."

The Pakistan Army also said it is sending relief teams.

ABC News' Jon Williams, Rym Momtaz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Fighting Escalates Across Yemen, First Air Strikes on Capital Sanaa
ADEN/CAIRO | BY MOHAMMED MUKHASHAF AND MOHAMMED GHOBARI

(Reuters) - Air raids, naval shelling and ground fighting shook Yemen on Sunday in some of the most widespread combat since a Saudi-led alliance intervened last month against Iranian-allied Houthi militia who have seized wide areas of the country.

There were at least five air strikes on military positions and an area near the presidential palace compound in the Houthi-held capital Sanaa at dawn on Sunday, while warships pounded an area near the port of the southern city of Aden, residents said.

"The explosions were so big they shook the house, waking us and our kids up. Life has really become unbearable in this city," a Sanaa resident who gave his name as Jamal told Reuters.

The strikes on Sanaa were the first since the Saudi-led coalition said last week it was scaling back a campaign against the Houthis. But the air raids soon resumed as the Houthis' nationwide gains had not been notably rolled back, and there has been no visible progress toward peace talks.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter and arch Sunni Muslim regional adversary of Shi'ite Muslim Iran, feels menaced by the Shi'ite Houthi advance across Yemen since last September, when the rebels captured the capital.

The Houthis later forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile. The Saudi-led intervention aims to restore Hadi and prevent Yemen disintegrating as a state, with al Qaeda militants thriving in the chaos and one of the world's busiest oil shipping lanes off the Yemeni coast at risk.

WARSHIPS

Eyewitnesses in Aden said foreign warships shelled Houthi emplacements around the city's main commercial port and dockyard, the first time they had been targeted.

Aden residents reported heavy clashes between local armed militia from Yemen's Sunni south and Houthis backed up by army units loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Sources in the militia said they retaliated for the first time with tank and Katyusha rocket fire. Air strikes backed up local militia in clashes near Aden's international airport.

In the southern province of Dalea, militia said they had fought for hours to retake several rural districts from the Houthis with the help of air strikes. The fighting left around 25 Houthis and six local militiamen dead.

A grouping of armed tribesmen and Sunni Islamist fighters in the strategically important central Yemeni city of Taiz took back several districts from the Houthis in heavy fighting, according to residents there.

Medics reported that four civilians were killed when a rocket landed in a street and shelling damaged a main hospital.

The battlefield setbacks for the Houthis occurred in an area they held largely unopposed for more than a month, and suggest that the air campaign has emboldened armed opposition groups.

Other air strikes hit Houthi bastions in Saada province along Yemen's northern border with Saudi Arabia, and Saudi ground forces also shelled the city of Haradh in neighbouring Hajja province, residents said.

Iran's navy chief said on Sunday that it would keep warships in the Gulf of Aden for at least several months, a stance that could harden U.S. concerns about Tehran trying to supply advanced weapons to the Houthis.

Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, quoted by the state news agency IRNA, said the ships had deployed to protect shipping routes against piracy. The Islamic Republic denies giving military support to the Houthis.

The United States sent an aircraft carrier and a missile cruiser to support seven U.S. warships already near the Gulf of Aden this week, and warned Iran not to send weapons to Yemen that could be used to threaten shipping traffic.

The Gulf of Aden and the Bab el-Mandeb strait form one of the world's busiest oil and shipping choke points. Sayyari said the 34th Fleet remained close to the Bab al-Mandeb, contradicting an account from U.S. officials on Friday that Iranian warships were heading eastwards away from Yemen.

(Additional reporting by Sam Wilkin in Dubai; Writing by Noah Browning; Editing by William Maclean and Mark Heinrich)
Two Protesters Killed in Clashes With Police in Burundi
Sun Apr 26, 2015 12:33PM
presstv.ir

At least two anti-government protesters have been shot and killed in clashes with police in the Burundian capital city of Bujumbura.

The clashes erupted in many areas in the capital on Sunday as protesters were voicing opposition to the potential continuation in the presidency of Pierre Nkurunziza, who seeks a third term in office, local witnesses said

Witnesses added that one of the protesters was killed in the Ngagara district and the other one in the Musaga district of the capital.

The police used live ammunition, tear gas, and water cannon to disperse the protesters, who had openly defied a government ban on protests.

The protesters reportedly throw rocks at the police and set tires ablaze.

“We had called for peaceful protests and that is what happened, but the police and ruling party militia fired real bullets at the protesters,” said Frodebu Leonce Ngendakumana, a Burundian opposition leader.

Burundian riot police march past a burning tire roadblock following clashes with opposition protesters in a street in the capital Bujumbura, Burundi, April 26, 2015. ©AP
The witnesses added that several other protesters and police forces suffered injuries in the clashes.

Edouard Nduwimana, the interior minister of Burundi, slammed the incident, describing the development as “uprisings called for by certain politicians and civil society.”

The incident occurred a day after President Nkurunziza, who took office in 2005, launched his bid for a third term in office. His opponents, however, see his move as a violation of the constitution.

Burundi, a small nation in Africa’s Great Lakes region, emerged in 2005 from a brutal 12-year civil war.
Political Protesters Clash With Police in Burundi
by VOA News

Police in Burundi's capital, Bujumbura, clashed Sunday with protesters demonstrating against President Pierre Nkurunziza, who is seeking a controversial third term.

Witnesses said police used water cannon and tear gas and in some cases live bullets to scatter demonstrators in four districts of Bujumbura after the government banned any demonstrations about the ruling CNDD-FDD party's nomination of Nkurunziza for a third term.

At least one police officer and a protester were injured in  the disturbances. Police had no immediate comment, according to Reuters.

His eligibility comes down to a legal argument about the wording of a formative peace agreement and the country's constitution.

Burundi's existing political structures were founded on the 2000 Arusha agreement, which brought to an end the civil war between Hutu and Tutsi factions that killed up to 300,000 people. That agreement said the president could serve no more than two terms in office.

Constitution

But, the 2005 constitution states the president must be elected through “universal direct suffrage” - interpreted to mean a popular vote.

Nkurunziza was elected by parliament to his first term, so his supporters argue he is eligible to run again.

There is concern in Burundi that Nkurunziza's ambitions for the constitutionally questionable third term in office could reignite violence in a country still regaining its footing after years of civil war.

Nkurunziza has faced revolt from within his own party over his presumed candidacy. Seventy-nine members of the ruling party wrote the president last month, asking him not to seek office.

The influential Catholic Church in Burundi also has joined the growing chorus of civil society and opposition groups urging Nkurunziza not to run.

Accusations of silencing opposition

His government has been under fire from rights groups and the international community for excluding the opposition and silencing voices of dissent.

Rights groups have accused the ruling party of arming its youth wing, known as the Imbonerakure, and using them to attack opponents in the past.

Human Rights Watch last month said members of the group assisted the police and military in executing 47 people following a confrontation with an unnamed armed group in northwestern Cibitoke province.

Jean Claude Nkundwa, a peace activist in Bujumbura, said he fears that armed groups could be exploited to keep the president in power.

The international community, including the United Nations, the United States and the African Union have urged Burundian political actors to respect the rule of law and hold fair elections, without much weighing into the debate about whether the president has the legal authority to run.

United Nations and Rwandan officials said just over 17,000 Burundians have fled into neighboring Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo since mid-March due to rising fear of violence in the run-up to the June 26 presidential election.

Nkundwa is urging foreign partners to be prepared to intervene if necessary.

Some material for this report came from Reuters.

http://www.voanews.com/content/political-protesters-clash-with-police-in-burundi/2734929.html
Scenes of Rebellion in Baltimore as Thousands Protest Freddie Gray’s Death
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG and STEPHEN BABCOCK
New York Times
APRIL 25, 2015

BALTIMORE — A largely peaceful protest over the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a spinal cord injury in police custody, gave way to scattered scenes of chaos here on Saturday night, as demonstrators smashed a downtown storefront window, threw rocks and bottles and damaged police cruisers, while officers in riot gear broke up skirmishes and made 12 arrests near Camden Yards.

Shortly before 10 p.m., Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake convened a news conference at City Hall, where she appeared with several others — including Mr. Gray’s twin sister, Fredericka; a prominent pastor, Jamal Bryant; and City Councilman Brandon Scott — to appeal for calm. By that time the disturbances had largely settled.

Mr. Gray’s sister, appearing composed less than 48 hours before her brother’s scheduled funeral, spoke only briefly, saying, “Freddie Gray would not want this. Freddie’s father and mother does not want the violence.”

Hours earlier, a racially diverse and mostly calm crowd of hundreds — and by some estimates more than 1,000 — marched through the streets, clogging intersections, carrying signs and shouting, “All night, all day, we’re gonna fight for Freddie Gray!” They made their way from the Gilmor Homes — the squat brick public West Baltimore housing development where Mr. Gray was arrested on April 12 — through the sparkling downtown harbor, a major tourist attraction here, before assembling on a plaza at City Hall.

There, Malik Shabazz, president of Black Lawyers for Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based group that called for the demonstration and advertised it on social media, told the crowd that he would release them in an hour, adding: “Shut it down if you want to! Shut it down!”

Mr. Shabazz said in a later interview that his rhetoric was intended only to encourage civil disobedience — not violence — but added that he was “not surprised” by the scattered angry outbursts because people here “haven’t received justice.”

Saturday’s trouble began in the early evening, when a group of protesters, as many as 100 by some accounts, split from the main group as the City Hall rally was breaking up and went on a rampage, throwing cans, bottles and trash bins at police officers, and breaking windows in some businesses. As the breakaway group reached Camden Yards, where the Baltimore Orioles were playing the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night, it was met by police officers in riot gear.

Protesters smashed windows of some cars and blocked the corner of Pratt and Light Streets, a major intersection that is a main route to Interstate 95 and out of the city. The department used its Twitter feed to urge demonstrators to remain peaceful, and blamed the problems on “isolated pockets of people from out of town causing disturbances downtown.” Late in the ballgame, police briefly instructed fans to remain in the stadium “until further notice,” but the crowd was eventually released.

Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said at a news conference that 1,200 officers had been deployed. The department spokesman, Capt. J. Eric Kowalczyk, told a local television station that the police were determined to protect the protesters’ rights to “peaceful expression.”

Ahead of Saturday’s protest, state and city officials warned against outsiders coming into Baltimore to cause the type of unrest that roiled Ferguson, Mo., after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in August. Gov. Larry Hogan sent dozens of state troopers to Baltimore at the request of Mayor Rawlings-Blake, who urged those taking to the city’s streets to remain peaceful. “If you’re going to come here, come here to help us, not to hurt us,” she said.

But at Saturday night’s news conference, Rev. Bryant — who has led other protests here this week but was noticeably absent from the demonstration on Saturday — said the disruption was “not the byproduct of outside agitators,” but rather of “internal frustration,” noting that “99 percent of those who participated over the last couple of days” had been peaceful.

He urged Baltimore residents to go to “houses of faith,” on Sunday. “We are not asking you not to protest; we are not asking you not to lift your voice,” he said, adding, “The Bible is clear: Be angry but sin not. Rioting and looting will not give us justice, nor will it turn the tide.”

Local leaders of Saturday’s march — including Carron Morgan, 18, Mr. Gray’s first cousin, and an in-law of Mr. Gray’s who gave his name only as Juan — seemed determined to keep the demonstration from getting out of hand. During the afternoon, as the marchers made their way downtown, some young people started kicking dents into cars while other demonstrators told them to stop.

“I want outside people to come in,” Mr. Morgan said as he watched people gather early Saturday afternoon at the Gilmor Homes. “But I want them to understand that we don’t want to harm any police officers. We just want justice.”

During the rally at City Hall, before the evening skirmishes erupted, Juan marveled at how smoothly the afternoon had gone. “I just want to say how proud I am,” he told the crowd. “They said a young black man couldn’t lead his people. Did we prove them wrong?”

The death of Mr. Gray, who is to be buried here on Monday, has unleashed intense frustration and anger in Baltimore, a majority black city whose mayor and police commissioner are also African-American. Baltimore has a long history of tense relations between police and black residents, and while Ms. Rawlings-Blake and Mr. Batts have said they are trying to make improvements, the death has clearly opened a wound.

Mr. Gray was chased and restrained by police on bicycles at the Gilmor Homes on the morning of April 12; a cellphone video of his arrest shows him being dragged into a police transport van, seemingly limp and screaming in pain. The police have acknowledged that he should have received medical treatment immediately at the scene of the arrest, and have also said that he rode in the van unbuckled, prompting speculation here that he may have been given a so-called “rough ride,” in which he was intentionally jostled. After officers got him to the police station, medics rushed him to the hospital, where he slipped into a coma and died last Sunday.

Six Baltimore officers have been suspended with pay while the Baltimore Police Department carries out a criminal investigation. (Some demonstrators carried signs on Saturday reading, “No paid vacations.”) The Justice Department also is reviewing the case for possible civil rights violations. Mr. Gray’s family has hired a third party to conduct an independent investigation. Funeral services are scheduled for Monday at the new Shiloh Baptist Church in West Baltimore.

Protesters at a police station in Baltimore on Saturday. Credit Patrick Semansky/Associated Press
Baltimore residents have been protesting Mr. Gray’s death for a week, but Saturday’s turnout was among the largest. The throng assembled at the corner of Mount and Presbury Streets, just blocks from where Mr. Gray was apprehended by police, in the early afternoon for speeches and a short march to the Western District Police station, which was barricaded and guarded by officers.

There, Tessa Hill-Aston, the president of the Baltimore N.A.A.C.P., remembered a West Baltimore death similar to Mr. Gray’s, in 1994. She worked for the city housing authority at the time, and said she spent all night in the Gilmor Homes to keep the community calm. Asked what has changed since then, she frowned and said, “Nothing.” Surveying the crowd, she said she was glad so many people of different races had turned out, adding, “It shows enough is enough.”

While the march proceeded in an orderly and peaceful fashion, one participant, Omar Newberns, who works as a security officer here and rode his bicycle alongside the other demonstrators, said he was concerned about the spate of police killings involving black men — and what might happen if the police involved in Mr. Gray’s death are not prosecuted and convicted.

“This is a powder keg right now,” Mr. Newberns said. “New York and Ferguson and all those other places are just preliminary to introduce it to the nation,” he said. “It could become another Watts. If things don’t get taken care of here, the whole nation could be set afire. I don’t want that to happen.”

Until Friday, efforts to pinpoint how and when Mr. Gray was injured had focused on what happened inside the van, with a lawyer for the officers involved playing down the suggestion, based on the cellphone video, that Mr. Gray had been hurt before he was placed inside. The police have acknowledged gaps in the timeline involving three stops made by the van. According to Police Department accounts, at the first stop, officers placed leg bars on Mr. Gray, who they said had become irate; the second stop was made to pick up another arrestee. At the third, Mr. Gray had to be picked up off the floor.

Mr. Gray’s family said that his spinal cord had been 80 percent severed, and that his voice box had been crushed. Mr. Gray’s death was the latest in a string of fatal police encounters with unarmed and mostly black civilians that have forced a national debate about how law enforcement officers use lethal force on the job, especially in high-crime and minority communities. Many of the protesters Saturday dismissed statements by Baltimore officials that the protests should remain local.

“They need a little history,” Larry Holmes, a Manhattan-based activist with the Peoples Power Assemblies, told the crowd on Saturday. “Martin Luther King was an outside agitator. Malcolm X was an agitator. Jesus Christ was an agitator.”

“You can’t keep a problem like police brutality a local thing,” Mr. Holmes said. “The world is watching Baltimore now.”

Ashley Southall contributed reporting from New York.