Dr Neha Mathur

Pro-democracy protests is Thailand and the similarities to the Hong Kong’s anti-government dissents: How the young are leading the fight for democracy
Asia Pacific Focus

Pro-democracy protests is Thailand and the similarities to the Hong Kong’s anti-government dissents: How the young are leading the fight for democracy

Thailand is weeks into pro-democracy protests mainly led by young activists against the king and the prime minister, and the similarities with the protests in Hong Kong are pretty evident. The biggest one being how young are leading the way in quest of freedom and democracy. Thailand dissidents are adopting the tactics used by their Hong Kong counterparts.

Last Friday was the first instance of livid familiarity when protestors in Bangkok used umbrellas to shield them from tear gas fired by police force. This was seen last year in Hong Kong when the territory shook the world with its strong, resilient and widespread protests against Chinese authorities overtaking their freedom and democracy. Thailand’s movement, student-led, is taking inspiration from Hong Kong protests and fighting their fight for a change – from helmets, to hand held signals, gas masks and flash mobs.

After multiple arrests were made last week in Thailand protests, the activists have changed the stance now. “We are all leaders today.” The protestors remarked that they are not arresting leaders amongst us, for we all are leaders. “They can’t stop us.”

What kept on the momentum of seven long months of protests in Hong Kong, and is even continuing today, is the lack of centralized leadership. This has been defining for Hong Kong and is now adopted by Thailand dissidents. Like HK, use of Telegram app for secure messaging within protestors has skyrocketed in Thailand past few days. The app is being used to coordinate rallies, especially since government has banned any political gatherings of more than four people. The use of the hashtag #everybodyisaleader has been popularly growing on social media in recent days, a smart attempt to escape from state persecution.

A new sign language is being evolved in Bangkok; the founding seeds being taken from Hong Kong. To signal they need helmets, activists raise their hands above their hands in a triangle. By crossing their fingers they indicate someone is injured. Swirling an index finger in an anti-clockwise direction is a warning to disperse. Thai activists have amalgamated this sign language along with some freshly made signals which are shared through infographics on social media.

Another new incorporation is “jungle telephone”, an innovative communication method being used on Thai streets after loudspeakers were confiscated from protestors. A phrase like “water cannons are coming” is initiated by one and then passed on by all, like a loudspeaker.

Thailand protestors are demanding resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former coup leader who became premier last year post disputed elections. They are also calling for reform of Thailand’s powerful monarchy. Apart from local support and grievances, they are calling for global solidarity. The pro-democracy protestors’ alliance in the region, from Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan, have dubbed themselves as “Milk Tea Alliance”, a loose online coalition deriving the name from popular milk tea in the region. Hong Kong activists are showing support to their Thai counterparts by using #StandWithThailand on social media platforms.

Democracy activists are steering the wheel of change in the region and are “adapting to growing authoritarianism in a globalized world” and are using fast changing tactics to bring the change.

US Department of Justice files a landmark lawsuit against Google over forcing illegal monopoly

US Department of Justice files a landmark lawsuit against Google over forcing illegal monopoly

 US Department of Justice filed a landmark lawsuit on Tuesday against Google, accusing the tech mogul of forcing illegal monopoly abusing its powerful position in the market of search engines and search marketing.

The lawsuit states, “Two decades ago, Google became the darling of Silicon Valley as a scrappy startup with an innovative way to search the emerging internet. That Google is long gone.” It adds, “Today Google is a monopoly gatekeeper for the internet that has used pernicious anticompetitive tactics to maintain and extend its monopolies.”

“Today’s lawsuit by the Department of Justice is deeply flawed. People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives.”

Google SVP Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker

This lawsuit filed by the Trump administration, is the largest ‘anti-trust’ suit filed against any tech company in over two decades. The Justice Department has made striking accusations against Google of using and abusing its powerful position for forcing its monopoly. The lawsuit has been joined in by eleven US states – Florida, Arkansas, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Montana and South Carolina.

The lawsuit complains that Google utilized series of interlocking actions that have posed harmful to the competitions and prevented them from gaining audience. It also makes a powerful claim alleging Google of paying billions of dollars peer year to device manufacturing firms like Apple, Samsung, Motorola and LG, and also browser developers like Opera and Mozilla, to buy their default search engine position. Case says that as a result “Google effectively owns or controls search distribution channels accounting for roughly 80 percent of the general search queries in the United States.”

In response, Google SVP Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker wrote in a blogpost, “Today’s lawsuit by the Department of Justice is deeply flawed. People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives.”

“To the contrary, it would artificially prop up lower-quality search alternatives, raise phone prices, and make it harder for people to get the search services they want to use,” he added.

The lawsuit disrupts the distance Silicon Valley likes to keep from Washington, trying to avoid any clashes. However, EU has fined Google a total of $9bn accusing it of anticompetitive practices. President Donald Trump had attacked the EU decisions in 2018 and had tweeted, “I told you so! The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google. They truly have taken advantage of the US, but not for long!”

Tide has changed since then as Trump is joined in by many conservatives and liberals in criticizing tech big shot companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google for their market dominance. Many Senators including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders too have attacked the firms’ dominance.

The case will likely see years of proceedings before any decision is reached, mainly due to deep political ties Google has in Washington.

How the new occupant of White House post November elections can impact the climate change crisis battle

How the new occupant of White House post November elections can impact the climate change crisis battle

Climate change is a threatening global problem, and unfortunately the countries around the globe aren’t able to come on the same page, especially the United States of America. Since 2016, when Donald Trump took the office as US President, his administration rejected the climate change and the looming crisis as nothing but a hoax. Now, as the country is preparing for November 3 Presidential Elections, the world is watching it closely. Next four years who is going to occupy the White House will be critical in deciding the course of battle against the environmental crisis.

The difference in outlook towards climate change and the need to fight against it is strikingly astounding between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee former V-P Joe Biden. The environmental experts and scientists worry that if Trump wins the re-election, the next four years would be detrimental for any reform possible – his lobbying for oil and gas production would lock in fossil fuel “abuse” for decades to come. However, the story would be different if Joe Biden comes to power – the planet would get a fighting chance with his climate plan in place.

Trump’s administration has worked, deliberately and relentlessly, against the tide and has taken decisions against bringing any climate change reform. He withdrew from the Paris climate agreement, the global pact that was designed to avoid Earth’s warming. The administration led by President Trump has strategically removed any and all obstacles in the way of energy production. According to New York based Columbia University, over 160 critical rollbacks were ordered of environmental regulations by the Trump administration, ranging from car fuel standards, to light bulbs, to methane emissions. Recent red flags have been the wildfires in western states of the United States, worth several years, that the scientists link to climate changes.

Trump’s coming to power will be a nightmare for climate warriors. Prof. Michael Gerrard at Columbia University says, “Trump believes that regulations are all cost and no benefit. He denies that there really is such a thing as anthropogenic climate change, or at least that it is bad. He believes that if you cut back on regulations of all kinds, not just environmental, but also occupational and labour, and everything else, it’ll create more jobs.”

Trump has supported fossil fuels strongly. Fracking has led to US become world’s largest oil exporter. But coal mining has continued to reduce causing drop in around 5000 coal related jobs. If Trump gets re-elected, he will continue to step up the efforts to increase fossil fuel production, causing serious rise in global temperatures.

Striking contrast is Joe Biden. His plan for climate change includes seeing US energy sector go carbon-free by 2035. This will make country be a net zero emitter by 2050. The ideas proposed by Mr. Biden are ambitious but promising. He has plans to revolutionize transport in the US through electric trains and vehicles and also wants to build 1.5 million sustainable housing units and homes. This can be instrumental in bringing down global temperatures.

Coming elections have got the world’s attention. The next President of United States of America has got the responsibility to reform global climate change and bring some positive changes.

Northern Cyprus gets right wing nationalist Ersin Tatar as the presidential election winner

Northern Cyprus gets right wing nationalist Ersin Tatar as the presidential election winner

Ersin Tatar, the right wing hardliner nationalist, has emerged as the presidential election winner in Northern Cyprus. The Mediterranean island is Turkey-controlled and has now got a pro-Turkey president. Mr. Tartar, who won the election with 51.74% votes, wants Cyprus as two separate states.

The opponent, 72 year old Mustafa Akinci, is in favor of reunification of the Mediterranean island with the southern Greek part of island, and had promised to do so if won for a second five-year term. Akinci, a moderate, is backed by Turkish Cypriots who oppose Turkey’s rampant intervention in the territory’s internal affairs. He won 48.26% of the votes. He said, “We went through an election contest that wasn’t normal.”

Akinci said, hinting towards meddling by Ankara in the election campaigning, “I congratulate Tatar and those who helped bring this result…I hope these interventions don’t happen again. These results mark the end of my 45-year political career. I wish good luck to our people.”   

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish President has congratulated Tatar for his win. However, the Cypriot government in Nicosia hasn’t commented yet, but the opposition leaders have expressed their disapproval over the election results.

Mr. Tatar said in his victory speech, “We are fighting to exist within the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, therefore our neighbours in the south and the world community should respect our fight for freedom … because we deserve it.”

Erdogan took on to Twitter to congratulate his ally’s victory, “I congratulate Ersin Tatar who has been elected president… Turkey will continue to provide all types of efforts to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people.”

Back in 1974, Cyprus underwent a division when Turkey invaded the northern region. The area was abandoned by Greek Cypriots and since then has been off-limits. After partition, the northern third is controlled by Turkish Cypriot government and the southern two-thirds is under governance by the internationally recognized government which is led by Greek Cypriots.

It is still considered a key issue of the peace talks which are aimed at reuniting the island. The election outcome is being considered as a victory for Ankara.

The ‘self-declared’ and recognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), a territory with population of approximately 300,000, is recognized as an independent state only by Turkey – internationally it is seen as a part of Cyprus.

EU bloc leaders assert that UK must accept Brexit trade terms, astounding No 10

EU bloc leaders assert that UK must accept Brexit trade terms, astounding No 10

French President Emmanuel Macron led European Union leaders have issued a startling warning to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson of accepting the Brexit trade deal conditions as per the bloc. The Downing Street is astonished by what appears to be a challenge to Johnson’s threat of walking out of the Brexit talks.

In the latest Brussels summit, EU had proposed to extend the negotiations further by 2-3 weeks but the European governments had demanded that Johnson’s government must “make the necessary moves to make an agreement possible.” The pressurizing intervention by the European states leaders was regarded provocative by No 10 citing the fact that Johnson had relayed of coming to a decision on Friday to continue the talks or not. In September he had said that if an agreement can’t be reached by the time of Brussels summit, Johnson’s government would move on and focus on “no-deal”.

The summit communication asked on Thursday afternoon that Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, must “continue negotiations in the coming weeks.” Downing Street had called for an intensification of talks in an earlier draft but was later deleted.

David Frost, the chief negotiator for UK, responded in a tweet, “Disappointed by the summit conclusions on UK/EU negotiations. Surprised EU is no longer committed to working ‘intensively’ to reach a future partnership as agreed with the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen on 3rd October.”

“Also surprise by suggestion that to get an agreement all future moves must come from UK. It’s an unusual approach to conducting a negotiation,” he added.

Barnier informed in a press conference after the meeting that a deal is in high possibility and could “speed up” and continue with “intensified talks”. This can be seen as an effort to support Johnson to continue negotiations. He said, “We’re available, we shall remain available until the last possible day. The negotiations aren’t over – we want to give these negotiations every chance to be successful. I shall say to David Frost we’re prepared to speed up negotiations in the next few days.”

The outstanding topics between both sides remain trade and security talks.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “It has to be a fair agreement from which both sides can profit.”

US Elections and chaos of mail-in ballots: Republicans steer in commotion with illicit ballot boxes in California

US Elections and chaos of mail-in ballots: Republicans steer in commotion with illicit ballot boxes in California

The controversies and tumult surrounding mail-in ballot system in round-the-corner November Presidential Elections don’t seem to subside any time soon. The latest addition to the plethora of polemics took place in California where Republicans have installed dozens of illegal ballot boxes that the state officials say are unauthorized. In a violation of state laws, Californian Republicans started the debacle which has injected a spewing chaos into the historical US Presidential Elections that are at the centre of global stage in an unprecedented manner.

This year the people are more interested in mail-in voting due to Coronavirus but GOP is working hard to steer the ship the other way. Since the beginning of election cycle, Trump administration is attacking and questioning the integrity of mail-in ballots and is fighting courts to rule against it. The California incident is latest addition to Republican’s desperate attempt to harm the drop box system. The introduction of unauthorized boxes in CA is problematic for voters.

California state is mailing ballots to all the registered voters in state this year, which means that voters can either mail in their ballots or return them at official ballot drop boxes. To ensure there is no forgery of votes a special anti-fraud safeguard system has been built into the system. This will check that ballots are filled by the right user. Also the dropboxes would be ensured to be free of any tampering. The California Republican Party set up dozens of illegal and unauthorized ballot dropboxes in in four counties in South California. The party says that this was done to legally collect and return people’s ballots.

The Election officials have expressed grave concerns over the fake ballots installation in the counties. Governor of California, Attorney General and Secretary of State, who are all Democrats, have condemned the act by Republicans in the state. Letters of cease and desist have been sent to GOP in state to remove the installed “deceptive” dropboxes by Thursday. On Wednesday, calling for the showdown in the state, GOP has refused to comply with the cease and desist order.

“Ballot harvesting program will continue,” announced the California Republican Party spokesperson Hector Barajas.

Dissecting the incident in California, the Republicans claim of doing so with sole objective of collecting people’s ballots through installed makeshift dropboxes and return them to election officials. These dropboxes were seen in more pro-conservative areas like in front of churches and gun shops, an indication of attempt to boost votes from GOP supporters. Democrats however allege that it was an attempt by the GOP to rig the elections. California Governor Gavin Newsom said that this latest incident is a proof that Republicans would “lie, cheat, and threaten our democracy all for the sake of gaining power.” However, there is no evidence of ballot tampering. The Republicans have denied all the allegations and have blamed Democrats of hypocrisy.

The Californian law states that this act was illegal and may attract an investigation. Coming days would reveal whether this dispute will flare up into a major showdown politically, or an investigation follows or if Republicans withdraw without major hullabaloo. It is also possible that California was just a testing ground for Republican’s strategy – a possibility after they sent out fake poll watchers to Philadelphia voting areas. If true, then it would be a sinister and desperate move by GOP and Trump administration to steer elections to their way favourably.

Why the African evangelicals are supporting Trump despite his contemptuous remarks on the continent
Americas, Middle East & Africa

Why the African evangelicals are supporting Trump despite his contemptuous remarks on the continent

Christians in Africa are among the most strong and surprising group of supporters of US President Donald Trump who are praying for his win in November elections. This is despite the fact that the President has been quite vocal with his derogatory and belittling remarks on the continent.

Nigerian Pastor, Chris Oyakhilome, a famous televangelist said in a June sermon, “Pray for him because when God places any of his children in a position, hell sometimes would do everything to destroy that individual.” He also said that the critics of Republican president dislike his supporters. The pastor’s broadcasts are popular across the world, including the US. He said, “They are angry at Trump for supporting Christians, you better know it. So the real ones that they hate are you who are Christians.”

The card of religion and Christianity and God has been in Trump’s court when it comes to African countries like Nigeria and Kenya, where he is quite popular contrary to the polarized image he has established in rest of the world. In January the Pew Research poll released Trump’s popularity figures. The supporters don’t seem to be bothered how Trump reportedly called all the African countries as “shitholes” back in 2018.

The fact that both Kenya and Nigeria are deeply religious countries has been reason for Trump’s popularity and support here. South of Nigeria has major churches, and Kenya is a country where politicians attend church sermons to meet their supporters. Religion plays a major role in these countries.

Trump has also gained support among the evangelical Christian groups in the continent due to the common stand against abortion, gay rights, and support for Israel. This was also why despite his Kenyan heritage former Democratic President Barack Obama didn’t win support among these African nations for his liberal views.

Richard Chogo, pastor at Deliverance Church in Kenya has praised Trump for his stand against contraception services in many African countries and cutting their funding of groups like Marie Stopes. He said for Obama’s standing, “The Obama administration had been pushing a liberal agenda here in Africa and that agenda was of concern to some of us Christian leaders. It was a relief that during Trump’s time he’s taken a bit of a back seat.”

Pastor Chogo has dismissed the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement as being “detoured from its vision” and has backed President Trump. He believes that his shortcomings should be ignored for the “common good”. He argues, “Are other people of colour less victims of racism? Is the life of an average black person better today than seven years ago? Or is the average black person worse off today under President Trump than during Obama’s presidency when BLM started?”

Trump has not left any opportunity to cash in on this support. He recently addressed his Christian supporters in tweets saying that this elections religious freedom and abortion are at stake. The evangelicals in Africa are calling winning of Trump as God’s will.

Coronavirus survives on surfaces for 28 days in lab conditions, study reveals

Coronavirus survives on surfaces for 28 days in lab conditions, study reveals

A study carried out by Australia’s national science agency found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19 infection, can remain infectious on surfaces like phone screens, stainless steel and banknotes. The findings give a startling contradiction to earlier belief of survival period of the novel coronavirus, which was thought to survive for a shorter duration on surfaces.

The experiment, however, was conducted in dark in laboratory settings. Earlier studies have also revealed that UV light can potentially kill the virus. Furthermore, the coronavirus is believed to be transmitted through coughing, sneezing, and talking while in proximity. Some experts are also skeptical about the real threat of surface transmission in real life settings. But recent studies have put a lot of confirmatory weight on the virus being airborne, i.e., spread by particles suspended in the air. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has also relayed possibility of someone getting infected with the coronavirus on touching an infected surface. However, the possibility is believed to be very low.

What does the study reveal?

The previous tests in laboratory settings had found that SARS-CoV-2 can remain active and survive for 2-3 days on surfaces like glass and banknotes, and for up to 6 days on stainless steel and plastic. But the latest research study by Australian agency CSIRO found virus to be “extremely robust” and can survive for 28 days. This period was found to be on smooth surfaces like glass on mobile phone screens, and plastic and banknotes. The study was done by keeping the surfaces at 20C or 68F, that is near room temperature and in dark. In contrast, the flu virus is able to survive for 17 days in similar conditions.

The study was published in Virology Journal. It also found that the novel coronavirus survived for shorter duration at higher temperatures as compared to cooler temperatures. The virus was found non-infectious within 24 hours on some surfaces at 40C temperature. Virus also stayed active for longer duration on surfaces that were smooth, non-porous as compared to those that were porous like cloth and could not transmit virus past 14 days.

Disagreements on the study

The study was however criticized by Common Cold Centre, Cardiff University’s former director Prof Ron Eccles. He said that the revelation of virus remaining active for 28 days is bound to cause “unnecessary fear in the public.” He said, “Viruses are spread on surfaces from mucus in coughs and sneezes and dirty fingers and this study did not use fresh human mucus as a vehicle to spread the virus.”

“Fresh mucus is a hostile environment for viruses as it contains lots of white cells that produce enzymes to destroy viruses and can also contain antibodies and other chemicals to neutralize viruses. In my opinion infectious viruses will only persist for hours in mucus on surfaces rather than days.”

Inference we can extract

The study, if anything, highlights and further stresses on the need of cleaning hands and disinfecting surfaces like our mobile touchscreen. We know that Covid-19 spreads through air particles and the virus remains infectious for over three hours in airborne particles. Regular cleaning and disinfecting surfaces is more important than ever to curb the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Women leading the Belarus Revolution standing firm against Lukashenko

Women leading the Belarus Revolution standing firm against Lukashenko

Belarus has been under international spotlight ever since the long-term President Alexander Lukashenko allegedly won the disputed elections in June 2020 enraging the people of Belarus. The people, majority women, have been at the forefront of the mass political demonstrations and protests against the Lukashenko government calling for stepping down of the longest serving dictator in Europe.

Women have been leading the Belarus Revolution demanding democracy to come to the forefront. Leaders, protesters and change-bearing personas are all women who are currently in the limelight of transitionary phase of the country that is hopefully set on the path of ultimate democratic freedom.

Last week a Minsk apartment building had a projected image of opposition leader, Maria Kolesnikova. The image by Anna Redko was given look of The Motherland Calls, the famous Soviet war poster, where Kolesnikova is seen holding a torn passport. This was a reference to her latest encounter with Lukashenko’s forces at Ukraine border where they tried to deport her. Kolesnikova currently is in Minsk’s KGB prison. She is determined to oppose forced exile. That is the ultimate picture of revolutionary defiance in a country facing turmoil.

The revolution in Belarus has been led by women and also largely defined by them. Leading the demonstrations, women have been arrested and beaten up by the masked security men in green uniforms. Many have been detained.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was the opposition leader on ballot standing against Lukashenko. The autocratic leader allowed a woman to contest in election, thinking she wouldn’t pose any harm, and jailed or exiled all the men who intended to contest the election. Three opposition leaders – Tikhanovskaya, Kolesnikova and Veronika Tsepkalo rallied across the country before elections and gathered support for their vision of bring in the long desired political change and democracy in the country.

Lukashenko was largely cynical and rejective of women, and that enraged women even more. Kolesnikova said at her Minsk located campaign headquarters last month, “The cynicism with which the current president expressed himself about them and their role, it insulted a lot of women.”

The current momentum of protests in Belarus were facilitated and accentuated by women and it was further rejuvenated after women were inflicted with horrifying violence after Lukashenko claimed victory in elections. After days of bearing brutal attacks by the police, 250 women stood on central Minsk roadside holding white and red flowers, and police didn’t touch them. Next day there were multiple rows of women across the city. Weeks following Tikhanovskaya and Tsepkalo left Belarus and exiled fearing threat to family, and Kolesnikova became the movement’s visible face. She continued to appear in rallies until she was forcibly detained and was tried to forced into exile.

Russia is showing unwavering support to Lukashenko who is internationally not recognized as legitimate president after controversial elections. The women leaders are the face of change in Belarus. Kolesnikova said last month that the protests show that a political change is possible if demanded for, and that women can take the charge when nobody helps.  

Michigan Governor’s abduction plan thwarted by FBI, 13 charged for plotting

Michigan Governor’s abduction plan thwarted by FBI, 13 charged for plotting

Domestic terrorism plot – this is what was busted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Thursday when thirteen people were charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The alleged scheme was around plan to overthrow various state governments which the suspects “believe are violating the US Constitution.” According to the federal criminal complaint the plot included Michigan government and Gov. Whitmer.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that six people have been federally charged with conspiracy to kidnap and seven other have charged for association with “Wolverine Watchmen”, the militia group.

AG Nessel said during a press conference, “The individuals in state custody are suspected to have attempted to identify the home addresses of law enforcement officers in order to target them, made threats of violence intended to instigate a civil war, and engaged in planning and training for an operation to attack the capitol building of Michigan and to kidnap government officials, including the governor of Michigan.”

The federal government has charged the six accused – Michigan residents Adam Fox (37), Ty Garbin (24), Kaleb Franks (26), Daniel Harris (23), Brandon Caserta (32), and Delaware resident Barry Croft (44). The seven other people who are charged by the state are Paul Bellar (21), Shawn Fix (38), Eric Molitor (36), Michael Null (38), William Null (38), Pete Musico (42), Joseph Morrison (42). They have been charged with various firearm and terror charges.  

The November Presidential Elections are expected to have a direct and substantial impact of the latest arrests and can add to the broiling political tensions that are capturing every corner of the country. This will also shine the spotlight brighter on ongoing warnings from the Congress, and law enforcements that real threat to America are extremists and far-right groups. Gov. Whitmer has been the center of rebuke and hatred from extremist groups specially on her handling of the pandemic in Michigan state.

Gov. Whitmer thanked the federal and state law enforcements of their swift action in a televised statement. She said, “This is unlike anything we have seen before. The brave men and women of these two police organizations put their lives on the line to keep me and my family safe. I’m incredibly grateful and humbled by the work they do.” She further blamed President Donald Trump for failing to condemn the extremists and far-right groups.

“Just last week, the President of the United States stood before the American people and refused to condemn white supremacists and hate groups like these two Michigan militia groups. ‘Stand back and stand by,’ he told them. ‘Stand back and stand by.’ Hate groups heard the President’s words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry, as a call to action. When our leaders speak, their words matter. They carry weight.”

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has in response to Whitmer’s statement, accused her of ‘sowing division’. She said, “President Trump has continually condemned white supremacists and all forms of hate. Governor Whitmer is sowing division by making these outlandish allegations. America stands united against hate and in support of our federal law enforcement who stopped this plot.”

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