interview last year. “No one else is left. The opposition leaders are in prison.” Mr. Putsila said that Mr. Protasevich never advocated violence, only peaceful protests.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the principal opposition candidate in the August election who had been forced to flee. With Mr. Lukashenko’s other main rivals in detention, Ms. Tikhanovskaya had become the main voice of the Belarus opposition.

In November, prosecutors in Belarus formally charged Mr. Protasevich under a law that bans the organization of protests that violate “social order.” The security services also put him on a list of accused terrorists.

Nashe Nive, a Belarusian news site.

Mr. Putsila said he was stunned that Mr. Lukashenko would force a commercial airliner to land just to arrest a youthful critic but, with the benefit of hindsight, thinks the operation should not have come as a big surprise. The autocrat, he said, wanted to show that “we will reach you not only in Belarus but wherever you are. He has always tried to terrify.”

A measure of that was that when the plane was forced to land in Minsk on Sunday, Belarus security agents arrested not only Mr. Protasevich but Ms. Sapega, 23. Ms. Sapega, a law student at the European Humanities University in Vilnius, in Lithuania’s capital, appeared to have been arrested over her association. She was not known to be a target in her own right. Her lawyer said Wednesday she would be jailed for at least two months and face a criminal trial.

Mr. Putsila noted that Nexta had received so many threatening letters and abusive phone calls that Polish police officers stand permanent guard on the stairwell leading to the office.

“The Lukashenko regime considers Roman one of its main enemies,” he said. “Maybe it is right.”

Another colleague, Ekaterina Yerusalimskaya, told the Tut.by news service that she and Mr. Protasevich once noticed a mysterious man tailing them in Poland, and reported it to the police. Still, Mr. Protasevich remained nonchalant. “He calmed himself by saying nobody would touch us, otherwise it would be an international scandal,” Ms. Yerusalimskaya said.

Mr. Protasevich’s mother said she worried about his safety but, breaking down in tears as she contemplated her son’s fate after his arrest in Minsk, added: “We believe justice will prevail. We believe all this terror will pass. We believe political prisoners will be freed. And we are very proud of our son.”

Ivan Nechepurenko contributed reporting from Moscow.

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From Colombia to U.S., Police Violence Pushes Protests Into Mass Movements

When the history of this global moment is written, there will need to be an entire chapter on police forces’ spectacular own goals as force for change.

Around the world, the police have cracked down violently on protests — only to discover that their attacks, captured on camera and shared across social and conventional media, have been the catalyst that helped turn issue-based campaigns into mass movements.

Movements like Black Lives Matter in the United States, the 2019 uprising in Chile that led to a new constitution, and, now, Colombia’s protests grew out of political wounds unique to each society. But each was transformed into a broad, potentially generation-defining cause once protesters were confronted with police violence.

shaped the culture and training of Colombian police, who amid the protests have often appeared to draw little distinction between peaceful protesters who object to the government’s policies and violent guerrillas who wanted to overthrow the state.

In Chile in 2019, protests initially began as opposition to an increase in transit fares. It was the government’s fateful decision to restore order by calling out the army — for the first time since Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship ended in 1990 — that transformed the protests into a national movement with widespread political support.

Army tanks rolling through the streets sent a message that the country’s transition to democracy was incomplete, and at risk of collapse. Protesters carried placards printed with the face of Victor Jara, a folk singer murdered in the early days of the Pinochet regime, drawing a direct connection between the modern protests and the tanks that brought General Pinochet to power.

Just a year after the protests exploded, Chileans voted to scrap the constitution drafted during the Pinochet years and replace it with a new one.

In Colombia, the violence against protesters, and the heavy militarization of the streets in cities like Bogotá, has likewise sent a message that the country’s democratic project is not just unfinished, but is perhaps in jeopardy.

The 2016 peace agreement was supposed to end the armed conflict between the government and the FARC. But the actions of the state security forces over the past two weeks have many questioning whether peacetime democracy ever began at all.

“I think that the story of this country is about the armed conflict,” said Erika Rodríguez Gómez, 30, a lawyer and feminist activist from Bogotá. “We signed a peace agreement in 2016. And maybe at that moment we felt like, OK, we are going to move on.”

“But actually we have all of the military forces on the streets. And we have these attacks against us, the civil society,” she said. “So we think now that actually, they were never gone.”

It is too soon to say whether the protests will lead to lasting change. The attacks on protesters have made state violence visible to more people, said Dr. González, the Harvard researcher, but she believes that they are still considering it through the lens of “their usual scripts about understanding society, and understanding the police, and understanding everything. So it hasn’t quite come to the point of people converging.”

But Leydy Diossa-Jimenez, a Colombian researcher and Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that she sees this moment as a turning point for change across generations. “Gen Z, they are now rethinking their country, and thinking about what has been left by prior generations,” she said in an interview. “They are saying ‘No, this is not what we want.’ ”

“And I think for the first time now, the older generations in Colombia are allying with that idea, that this is not the country we want,” she said.

“I don’t know if the politicians are up to the challenge, and up to the historical moment,” she added. “I just hope they are.”

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A Police Shooting in Hawaii Has South Africans Demanding Justice

Mr. Myeni and his wife moved to the United States in January 2020.

In a lengthy telephone interview, Ms. Myeni recalled how they met in 2016 at a hostel in Durban, a city on South Africa’s east coast. A professional rugby player, he was playing an away game; she was on a three-day layover during a Christian missionary trip around the world.

Mr. Myeni liked to sing, and once auditioned for the show “Idols South Africa.” He was also a longtime member of Scouts South Africa, leading wilderness camps for children.

The couple married 18 months after they met, and spent their first few years in South Africa, living in his hometown.

Their decision to move the United States, Ms. Myeni said, was driven by her career in real estate. First, they tried Tampa, Fla., but, she said, they found the inequalities between Black and white too reminiscent of South Africa and the legacy of apartheid.

“Every house we looked at, you could either be in a really poor Black neighborhood or a snobby rich white neighborhood, and neither of those fit us,” Ms. Myeni said. “We wanted somewhere where people are progressing and doing well but also, is it safe for us as a mixed couple?”

Next they tried Denver. They had once spent six months there, and it was home to the Glendale Merlins, a rugby team Mr. Myeni could join while he waited for a work permit.

Even before his death in Honolulu, Mr. Myeni had sometimes felt targeted by the police in his new country. In Austin, Texas, he was arrested at a nightclub while traveling with his rugby team, a teammate said, then released without charges. And in Denver, he was stopped by the police while walking to rugby practice.

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Colombia Protests: Police Force, Built for War, Finds a New One

At the time, the government hoped to professionalize and depoliticize the job by consolidating a fragmented system into a national force, said Juan Carlos Ruíz, a professor and security expert at Colombia’s Universidad del Rosario.

By the 2000s, the police had become a critical player in a counterinsurgency strategy aimed at rooting out the FARC, in which the military cleared rebels from territory and the police held that ground. The strategy worked, forcing the rebels to negotiate. And it earned the police “very high levels of citizen trust,” said Paul Angelo, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

But since the peace deal, little has changed within the police department.

Juan Manuel Santos, who was president when the deal was signed, had long supported moving the police out of the defense ministry. But the idea had been unpopular with the armed forces, in part because the police bring money and manpower into the ministry, Mr. Angelo said. By the time Mr. Santos had signed the peace deal, he had little time left in office, and even less political capital. The change was never made.

Now, police reform advocates are again pushing to move the 140,000-officer force from the defense department into the interior ministry — and to prioritize human rights training, limit weaponry, and try officers who commit crimes in ordinary courts instead of military ones.

In an interview, the head of the national police, Gen. Jorge Luis Vargas, said he had presented a reform plan to the country earlier this year. But the police should not be moved out of the defense ministry, he said.

“The situation of drug trafficking and illegal groups at this time does not allow it,” he said, calling these issues “the main problem in Colombia.”

The protests began in late April, when Mr. Duque proposed a tax overhaul meant to help close a fiscal hole exacerbated by the pandemic. Already, the country was on edge: After a year of Covid-related restrictions, the outbreak was only getting worse, along with poverty, inequality and joblessness.

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Colombia’s Police Force, Built for War, Finds a New One

At the time, the government hoped to professionalize and depoliticize the job by consolidating a fragmented system into a national force, said Juan Carlos Ruíz, a professor and security expert at Colombia’s Universidad del Rosario.

By the 2000s, the police had become a critical player in a counterinsurgency strategy aimed at rooting out the FARC, in which the military cleared rebels from territory and the police held that ground. The strategy worked, forcing the rebels to negotiate. And it earned the police “very high levels of citizen trust,” said Paul Angelo, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

But since the peace deal, little has changed within the police department.

Juan Manuel Santos, who was president when the deal was signed, had long supported moving the police out of the defense ministry. But the idea had been unpopular with the armed forces, in part because the police bring money and manpower into the ministry, Mr. Angelo said. By the time Mr. Santos had signed the peace deal, he had little time left in office, and even less political capital. The change was never made.

Now, police reform advocates are again pushing to move the 140,000-officer force from the defense department into the interior ministry — and to prioritize human rights training, limit weaponry, and try officers who commit crimes in ordinary courts instead of military ones.

In an interview, the head of the national police, Gen. Jorge Luis Vargas, said he had presented a reform plan to the country earlier this year. But the police should not be moved out of the defense ministry, he said.

“The situation of drug trafficking and illegal groups at this time does not allow it,” he said, calling these issues “the main problem in Colombia.”

The protests began in late April, when Mr. Duque proposed a tax overhaul meant to help close a fiscal hole exacerbated by the pandemic. Already, the country was on edge: After a year of Covid-related restrictions, the outbreak was only getting worse, along with poverty, inequality and joblessness.

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Police Operation in Rio de Janeiro Leaves at Least 25 Dead

RIO DE JANEIRO — A police operation targeting drug dealers in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday morning left at least 25 people dead, including a police officer, in an operation that officials and human rights activists called the deadliest in the city’s history.

The gun battle in Jacarezinho, a poor and working-class district controlled by the drug gang known as Comando Vermelho, or Red Command, also wounded at least two subway passengers who were struck as their train was caught in the crossfire.

Residents and human rights activists accused the police of using excessive force and questioned why the operation was launched at all, given a Supreme Court ban on law enforcement raids in the city during the pandemic.

Nadine Borges, vice president of the human rights commission at Brazil’s bar association, said a team of lawyers gathering facts had heard chilling preliminary accounts.

a record high. Officers are seldom subject to criminal investigation or prosecution.

Gun battles between the police and gang members in Rio de Janeiro are routine. Heavily armed traffickers act as the de facto authority in vast areas of the city, including Jacarezinho, where drugs are sold in plain sight.

Elected officials who have been critical of the police denounced Thursday’s raid.

“The slaughter in Jacarezinho is a typical example of the barbarities that happen in favelas in Rio,” Talíria Petrone, a federal lawmaker from Rio de Janeiro, said in a statement. “It’s the state doing the minimum to guarantee rights and doing the maximum to repress and kill.”

A Supreme Court justice last June banned routine police operations in Rio de Janeiro during the pandemic. The justice, Edson Fachin, said the police could carry out only those operations considered “absolutely exceptional.”

Joel Luiz Costa, a lawyer from Jacarezinho, said he visited several homes in which people were killed on Thursday and saw evidence that residents had been executed.

“This is cruel. This is barbaric,” he said in a video posted on Twitter. “Did it end drug trafficking because 25 people were killed? Will this end drug trafficking?”

he said during his swearing in ceremony on Saturday.

Rodrigo Oliveira, the police chief, said his officers had conducted themselves lawfully.

“The only execution that took place was that of the police officer,” he said. “The other deaths that occurred were those of traffickers who attacked the police and were neutralized.”

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As Old Murder Case Takes On New Life, Some Transgender People Dare Hope

Outraged by a long-ignored slaying in Honduras, lawyers are urging a human rights court in Central America to force governments to better protect transgender people in a region where they are targets.


In a region where experts put the life expectancy for transgender women at only 30 to 35 years, Vicky Hernández didn’t make it even that long.

Ms. Hernández was 26 when she was found shot in the eye on a Honduras street, a slug of unknown caliber and a used condom beside her body.

Twelve years later, investigators still have not run forensic tests on that evidence. It is still not clear whether the authorities ever performed an autopsy. And two other transgender women who reported having witnessed a police patrol car roll up to Ms. Hernández just before she ran off and went missing were themselves killed within a year of her death.

the Hernández case puts a spotlight on a pattern of abuse against vulnerable people in Honduras, it is being closely watched in a region where many countries remain hostile toward transgender people.

The court, based in Costa Rica, could order the Honduran government to enact measures designed to prevent violence against transgender people, setting a legal precedent in the region.

Ms. Hernández’s murder in San Pedro Sula was among the first of an explosion of killings of transgender women in Honduras that followed a June 2009 coup in which the country’s president was rousted from bed and exiled.

The next morning, Ms. Hernández, a sex worker, was found dead after a night in which, because of a strict curfew, nobody but law enforcement and military authorities were supposed to be roaming the streets.

highest rate of murders of transgender and other gender diverse people in the world, with Brazil and Mexico close behind.

Sin Violencia LGBTI, a regional information network.

In Brazil last year, 175 transgender women were killed, according to the National Association of Transvestites and Transsexuals. Already in 2021, 53 transgender people have been killed, according to the advocacy group, with the youngest victim just 13.

That has made the Vicky Hernández lawsuit of deep interest across the region.

“We are watching very closely as to how the result of the case could impact the situation in the region,” said Bruna Benevides, a researcher for Brazil’s National Association of Transvestites and Transsexuals, although she expressed doubt that her country’s conservative president, Jair Bolsonaro, would embrace any rulings that helped transgender people.

Rihanna Ferrera, who lost her run for office in Honduras in 2017 under her male birth name, said the case was important because it could force the government to at least make some tangible improvements, like allowing legal name changes. Ms. Ferrera’s sister, Bessy, who was also transgender, was murdered in 2019.

“After what happened to my sister, I decided not to leave and instead to confront this discrimination, stigma, violence and criminalization,” she said. “We need not to remove people from the danger. We need to confront the state and tell the state: Here we are, and we are in danger. We don’t have to leave. You, as the government, have to solve this.”

Oscar Lopez contributing reporting.

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Minnesota Governor Calls Alleged Assaults on Journalists ‘Chilling’

Tim Walz, the governor of Minnesota, on Sunday responded to reports that the state’s police officers had assaulted journalists covering the unrest in a Minneapolis suburb, saying, “Apologies are not enough; it just cannot happen.”

Protests have erupted in Brooklyn Center, Minn., in the wake of the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was killed by a veteran police officer during a traffic stop. Law enforcement officers have fired tear gas or pepper spray into crowds and have made dozens of arrests.

“I think we all need to recognize the assault on media across the world and even in our country over the last few years is chilling,” Mr. Walz said in an interview with a local CBS station. “We cannot function as a democracy if they’re not there.”

On Saturday, a lawyer representing more than 20 news media organizations sent a letter to Mr. Walz and leaders of Minnesota law enforcement organizations detailing a series of alleged assaults of journalists by police officers in the past week. Journalists have been sprayed with chemical irritants, arrested, thrown to the ground and beaten by police officers while covering protests, wrote the lawyer, Leita Walker.

forced to the ground along with other journalists and photographed by the police.

A spokeswoman for The New York Times Company on Sunday confirmed that Ms. Walker’s letter represented the company’s response.

On Friday, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order forbidding the police to use physical force or chemical agents against journalists. But Ms. Walker wrote that officers were still engaging in “widespread intimidation, violence and other misconduct directed at journalists.”

Mr. Walz said in a tweet on Saturday that he had “directed our law enforcement partners to make changes that will help ensure journalists do not face barriers to doing their jobs.”

“These are volatile situations and that’s not an excuse,” he said during the television interview on Sunday. “It’s an understanding that we need to continue to get better.”

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Myanmar Protesters Arm Themselves With Homemade Weapons



Every day, when Ko Win Kyaw goes out to demonstrate against the Myanmar military, he carries his slingshot and a supply of rocks as ammunition. It is little help against the army’s overwhelming firepower, but he says it gives him confidence and a way to strike back.

“I know I can’t defend myself with a slingshot, because I’m facing people with guns,” he said. “When they shoot, I run.”

Mr. Win Kyaw, 36, is one of many pro-democracy protesters who have started arming themselves with rudimentary weapons as they defy the military regime in Myanmar. What began as peaceful protests after the Feb. 1 coup rapidly grew into a resistance movement, with citizens defending themselves using slingshots, homemade air guns, old hunting rifles and firebombs.

In a statement this week, the United Nations High Commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, said the military’s brutal crackdown in the Southeast Asian nation had “led to some individuals taking up arms,” warning that the situation had “echoes of Syria in 2011” and was “heading toward a full-blown conflict.”

deadliest crackdown since the coup, according to a human rights group tracking the killings. More than 728 people have been killed, and at least 3,000 have been detained.

In the hard-hit Tharketa township of Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, one protester said he and his friends had formed a team of about 20 people after the slaughter on March 27. “We were peaceful protesters after the coup,” said Ko Thi Ha, 26. “But when they killed so many people, we couldn’t go further with a peaceful movement. We needed to fight back.”

attacked a similar group with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, killing at least 82.

State-owned news outlets have blamed the ousted elected leaders and “anarchic mobs” for the rising violence in Myanmar. In other countries where pro-democracy movements have taken hold in recent years, the authorities have also justified intensifying crackdowns by pointing to protesters with weapons.

In Yangon this month, there were several arson attacks on police stations and government offices, as well as small explosions that caused little damage and no injuries. Some experts on the Tatmadaw fear strong retaliation if protesters were to succeed in procuring deadly weapons on a large scale.

Chinese-made surveillance drones, the slingshot has become the weapon of choice for many protesters. They are cheap and easy to conceal, and can be fired quickly from hiding. For ammunition, some buy glass marbles or smooth stones that have been collected for the purpose. When ammunition runs short, there are usually plenty of rocks around.

Until recently, the slingshot was most common in rural areas, where cowboys often use it to prod their cattle. A skilled marksman can pick off a mango from a high branch.

After the protests began, the slingshot first appeared in the hands of the police. Videos taken by residents showed groups of officers roaming the streets at night, firing randomly at people, homes and windows. As the demonstrations escalated, the police traded their slingshots for rifles while the protesters took them up in large numbers.

Last month, when Alexander Fomin, the Russian deputy defense minister, visited Myanmar, the junta leader, Sr. General Min Aung Hlaing, showed him an exhibit of items confiscated from protesters. A video of the encounter shows the general demonstrating for Mr. Fomin how a slingshot works.

“Pull back to shoot,” he said.

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Book by Officer Who Shot Breonna Taylor Is a New Test for Publishers

With its decision not to distribute Sergeant Mattingly’s forthcoming book, Simon & Schuster seems to be acknowledging that a distributor bears some ethical responsibility for the books it ships, a line that it had not previously crossed.

In a letter sent to employees on Friday, Jonathan Karp, the chief executive of Simon & Schuster, apologized for “the distress and disruption” caused by the controversy. He stressed that the company would continue to publish a broad ideological range of books and would not make a practice of rejecting particular titles as a distributor.

“Although all of us involved in this decision shared an immediate and strong consensus about not wanting any role whatsoever in the distribution of this particular book, we are mindful of the unsustainable precedent of rendering our judgment on the thousands of titles from independent publishers whose books we distribute to our accounts, but whose acquisitions we do not control,” Mr. Karp wrote. Simon & Schuster declined to comment further.

Post Hill, based in Brentwood, Tenn., specializes in conservative political books and Christian titles, as well as books about business, self-help and pop culture. The company was founded in 2013 and has become an outlet for voices on the right; some of its best-selling authors include prominent conservatives like Dan Bongino, Laura Loomer and Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida. Earlier this year, Post Hill acquired books by Jim Jordan, the Ohio congressman and Trump supporter, and Dr. Ronny Jackson, a Texas congressman and Trump’s former medical adviser. It has also taken on books attacking some favorite targets of conservatives, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, former President Barack Obama and Hunter Biden.

News that Post Hill was publishing Sergeant Mattingly’s book was reported earlier by the Courier Journal in Louisville, Ky., on Thursday. On Twitter, authors including Roxane Gay, Celeste Ng and Don Winslow excoriated Simon & Schuster for its involvement.

“This is absolutely disgusting, and @simonschuster (why is it ALWAYS S&S?) should be ashamed of itself,” Ms. Ng wrote.

Publishers have increasingly had to contend with revolt from their own workers in addition to public outcry. Earlier this year, employees at major publishing houses circulated an open letter calling on companies to reject submissions by former members of the Trump administration and by those who incited or supported the violence of Jan. 6, arguing that such authors “should not be enriched through the coffers of publishing.”

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