Missouri gov. declares state of emergency ahead of Ferguson verdict

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (Reuters / Kenny Baht)

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (Reuters / Kenny Baht)

The governor of Missouri declared a state of emergency on Monday ahead of the anticipated grand jury decision surrounding Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson and the potential protests the verdict may bring to that city and others.

Citing what he called the “possibility of expanded unrest” ahead of the impending verdict, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said in a declaration on Monday that the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department will operate as a Unified Command “to protect civil rights and ensure public safety in the City of Ferguson and the St. Louis region”.

A grand jury is expected to announce any day if they will charge Wilson with the August killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager.

“In the days immediately following Michael Brown’s death, peaceful protests were marred by senseless acts of violence and destruction,” Gov. Nixon said last week.”That ugliness was not representative of Missouri, and it cannot be repeated.”

In addition to declaring a state of emergency, Nixon issued an executive order which in turn has activated the Missouri National Guard to assist local law enforcement.

Due to the periods of unrest that Ferguson and the St. Louis region have experienced in the wake of Brown’s death, Nixon said the state of Missouri will be prepared to respond “appropriately” in order to protect citizens and local businesses from “violence and damage.”

“I further order that the Unified Command may exercise operational authority in such other jurisdictions it deems necessary to protect civil rights and ensure public safety and that other law enforcement agencies shall assist the Unified Command when so requested and shall cooperate with operational directives of the Unified Command,” the governor wrote in the executive order.

The move follows Nixon’s decision to put the National Guard on standby in order to ensure it can support police officers and rapidly respond to any reports of violence. Elaborating on where the Guard fits into the governor’s latest action, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay suggested on Monday that it will not be the primary force at any protest.

“The way we view this, the Guard is not going to be confronting the protesters and will not be on the front line, interacting directly with the demonstrators,” the mayor said.

Nixon, meanwhile, said the executive order was needed to provide for an orderly and effective response to whatever decision the grand jury announces.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to plan and be prepared for any contingency, it is necessary to have these resources in place in advance of any announcement of the grand jury’s decision,” the governor said in a news release, according to local KSHB News. “These additional resources will support law enforcement’s efforts to maintain peace and protect those exercising their right to free speech.”

Last week, the governor said it was necessary for the state to avoid the kind of confrontation that occurred following Brown’s death.

“In the days immediately following Michael Brown’s death, peaceful protests were marred by senseless acts of violence and destruction,” he said. “That ugliness was not representative of Missouri, and it cannot be repeated.”

It’s unclear how exactly the grand jury will rule, as competing accounts of the fatal incident have surfaced. Some witnesses say Brown was surrendering to Wilson when he was shot, while others, including Wilson, say Brown had confronted the officer and went for his gun.

It’s unclear how exactly the grand jury will rule, as competing accounts of the fatal incident have surfaced. Some witnesses say Brown was surrendering to Wilson when he was shot, while others – including Wilson – say Brown had confronted the officer and went for his gun.

Even with no decision, some demonstrators have taken to the streets. A crowd of protesters staged a peaceful rally in St. Louis on Sunday, marking 100 days since the tragedy. Protesters laid down on chalk outlines representing shooting victims, pretending they had been killed.

Duma calls for international community to investigate Ukrainian atrocities

A Donetsk bus stop, which was destroyed by a Ukrainian military artillery attack. (RIA Novosti/Gennady Dubovoy)

A Donetsk bus stop, which was destroyed by a Ukrainian military artillery attack. (RIA Novosti/Gennady Dubovoy)

The Russian Lower House is calling on international organizations and national parliaments and governments to investigate crimes against civilians in south-east Ukraine, and to step up efforts to find a peaceful settlement in the region.

The motion was passed by 428 votes in favor with only one abstention.

The proposal draws special attention to the mass graves recently discovered near Donetsk. Russian MPs say that the bodies belong to victims of pro-Kiev forces, and are calling on the international community to give an unbiased assessment of the activities of those who committed the crimes against civilians, and those who gave orders in Kiev and financed the punitive units.

The State Duma calls upon the UN, the OSCE, and the international community to hold an objective, independent and all-sided international investigation of the crimes that have caused numerous victims among the civilian population in the south-east of Ukraine,” the motion reads.

All participants in criminal acts against the Ukrainian people must stand before a court and receive a well-deserved punishment,” it adds.

At the same time, Russian lawmakers asked legislative and executive bodies in foreign countries to step up their efforts to promote peace, and called for a broad international conference about modern threats and the role of parliamentary diplomacy in overcoming these threats.

A Donetsk People's Republic militiaman is at the site of the graves of peaceful residents discovered near Mine 22 "Kommunar" outside Donetsk (still from video courtesy of the Ruptly international news agency.)

A Donetsk People’s Republic militiaman is at the site of the graves of peaceful residents discovered near Mine 22 “Kommunar” outside Donetsk (still from video courtesy of the Ruptly international news agency.)

The State Duma also voiced concern over Western nations sending weapons and military advisors to the Ukrainian authorities. “Such actions can undermine the settlement process and provoke a new round of violence,” the lawmakers warned.

The head of the Lower House Committee for relations with the CIS bloc, Leonid Slutsky, said in a speech that the situation in Ukraine remained exceptionally tense. “The international law is still being violated in Donbass, people continue to perish and more and more mass graves are being discovered. These graves are filled with bodies of people who gave their lives simply for the right to remain Russians, to bring up their children in a free and democratic country,” he said.

Slutsky also said that Russia had repeatedly drawn attention to numerous violations of human rights in Ukraine. “However, the political leaders of the Western nations refuse to see the objective picture of the current events and leave Russia’s requests without attention. Besides, the US and the EU are rendering political, financial and moral support to the Kiev regime since the moment of destabilization.”

‘Cologne protests caused by government’s ignorance of migration and Islamism problems’

To contain the situation in the German city of Cologne on October 26, riot police used batons, pepper spray and water cannons against far-right protesters and football fans. (AFP Photo / DPA / Thilo Schmulgen / Germany out)

To contain the situation in the German city of Cologne on October 26, riot police used batons, pepper spray and water cannons against far-right protesters and football fans. (AFP Photo / DPA / Thilo Schmulgen / Germany out)

 

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Journalist Jan Raudszus on Cologne protests: “Those protests started out as hooligans against Salafists but then you hear people shouting “We don’t want any foreigners” and stuff like that, like a very skewed typical normal neo-Nazi behavior that we have seen in the past.”

The Cologne protests indicate a growing number of people are not willing to accept the German policy of supporting violent extremism in Syria, and ignoring the problems of mass migration and Islamism, journalist Manuel Ochenreiter told RT.

RT: Why have these protests been held in Cologne in particular?

Manuel Ochenreiter: It’s an interesting development, we face such protests… For example, we had clashes between Kurds and Islamists in some German cities with a lot of injured people, also injured policemen. The problem of mass migration, the problem of Islamism seems to be ignored by established mainstream politics and more and more people ask questions where the answers don’t seem to come. We face this violence…and I’m worried that we will face such scenes much more in the future as long as there will be no solution to those problems.

RT: Most of the people who marched the streets were far-right activists and self-proclaimed “soccer hooligans.” Does this discontent spread beyond these small groups?

MO: These were not just far-right protests. These were also football hooligans that are hooligans who were not political at all before. It was a mix of people, among them of course far-right protesters. But in the end these were a couple of thousands of people protesting in Cologne in clashes with police, were showing that among those protesters there were also a lot of violent people. Of course we cannot say that they represent the majority of the people. But the problem of Islamism, the problem of violence, also a problem that Germany is a country which supports violent Islamism, for example, in Syria by promoting, funding and supporting the so-called rebel factions which are nothing else [but] violent Islamist extremists, shows that more and more people are not confident with the politics. Normal people are not going on the street and beating the policemen, not protesting. It shows an atmosphere, a sort of sentiment that an increasing number of people are not willing to accept this politics anymore. And politicians are now asked to find a solution, but they seem to have been ignoring all those problems for many years. The ignorance of those problems causes this violence, blood, injured policemen and injured civilians on German streets.

Editor-in-chief of Geheim magazine Michael Opperskalski on Cologne protests: “The internal Intelligence service of Germany is extremely hypocritical, even in their statements, because they created problems in order to develop an uprising against a democratic elected government in Syria of Bashar Assad, and now this problem is coming back to Germany”.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.