News update for 6/5/20

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Produced by: 
KBOO
Air date: 
Fri, 06/05/2020 - 4:00pm

Across the country, protests have continued, despite the pandemic of COVID19, to call for an end to police violence and racism toward black people in this country.

 

In Portland, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets for the seventh night in a row.

The crowd has swelled in size, growing bigger each evening since the protests began one week ago.

Since Saturday, police have set up chain link fences across several streets in downtown Portland to prevent people from marching to the Justice Center, where prisoners are housed. 

They say their aim is to quote “protect” the prisoners inside the building.

But many protesters are calling for a release of the prisoners, most of whom are being held for minor infractions. 

They say especially during the pandemic of COVID19, holding people in prison for minor infractions should be reconsidered.

So far Oregon Governor Kate Brown has resisted calls to release prisoners in Oregon, even after an outbreak of COVID19 in the Oregon State penitentiary has sickened more than 150 prisoners.

 

The weapon that the Portland Police had threatened to use against demonstrators - the Long Range Acoustic Device or LRAD (used by the US Army in combat) was deployed last night against the people of Portland just after 2 am, when police decided to disperse the protesters. Residents as far east as Mount Tabor reported hearing the sound of the weapon, which uses a siren at the range of 165 dB – a range that can cause hearing loss to those near it.

 

Meanwhile, in COVID19 news:

The World Health Organization has issued new guidance on the wearing of masks. They recommend medical masks for anyone who is medically vulnerable.

They say that governments should encourage the general public to wear masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult, such as on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environments – like protests.

The WHO advises that fabric masks should consist of at least three layers of different material. Details of which materials we recommend for each layer are in the guidelines.

People can potentially infect themselves if they use contaminated hands to adjust a mask, or to repeatedly take it off and put it on, without cleaning hands in between.

 

An advocacy organization that made thousands of masks for demonstrators has reported that law enforcement officials seized shipments of the masks.

The shipments were destined for New York City, Minneapolis, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C., and the agency that seized the masks did not provide any explanation.

 

In Minneapolis,  city councilors on Friday will vote on imposing a temporary restraining order for the city's police department in response to the killing of George Floyd last month.

The restraining order would be the first step in dismantling the police department to replace it with " a transformative new model of public safety,", according to City Council President Lisa Bender.

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