France Protests

Police officers clash with demonstrators in Lyon, central France, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living.

U.S. appeals court won’t immediately allow Trump asylum ban

SAN FRANCISCO | A divided U.S. appeals court late Friday refused to immediately allow the Trump administration to enforce a ban on asylum for any immigrants who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

The ban is inconsistent with an existing U.S. law and an attempted end-run around Congress, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 2-1 decision.

“Just as we may not, as we are often reminded, ‘legislate from the bench,’ neither may the Executive legislate from the Oval Office,” 9th Circuit Judge Jay Bybee, a nominee of Republican President George W. Bush, wrote for the majority.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, Steven Stafford, did not have comment. But he referred to an earlier statement that called the asylum system broken and said the department looked forward to “continuing to defend the Executive Branch’s legitimate and well-reasoned exercise of its authority to address the crisis at our southern border.”

At issue is President Donald Trump’s Nov. 9 proclamation that barred anyone who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border between official ports of entry from seeking asylum. Trump issued the proclamation in response to caravans of migrants approaching the border.

A lower court judge temporarily blocked the ban and later refused to immediately reinstate it. The administration appealed to the 9th Circuit for an immediate stay of Judge Jon Tigar’s Nov. 19 temporary restraining order.

In a dissenting opinion Friday, 9th Circuit Judge Edward Leavy said the administration “adopted legal methods to cope with the current problems rampant at the southern border.” Nothing in the law the majority cited prevented a rule categorically barring eligibility for asylum on the basis of how a person entered the country, Leavy, a nominee of Republican President Ronald Reagan, said.

In his Nov, 19 ruling, Tigar sided with legal groups who argued that federal law is clear that immigrants in the U.S. can request asylum regardless of whether they entered legally.

The president “may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” the judge said in his order.

The ruling led to an unusual public dispute between Trump and Chief Justice John Roberts after Trump dismissed Tigar — an appointee of Trump’s predecessor — as an “Obama judge.”

Roberts responded with a statement that the federal judiciary doesn’t have “Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges.”

Rioting engulfs Paris as anger grows over high French taxes

PARIS | The rumble of armored police trucks and the hiss of tear gas filled central Paris on Saturday, as French riot police fought to contain thousands of yellow-vested protesters venting their anger against the government in a movement that has grown more violent by the week.

A ring of steel surrounded the president’s Elysee Palace — a key destination for the protesters — as police stationed trucks and reinforced metal barriers throughout the neighborhood.

Stores along the elegant Champs-Elysees Avenue and the posh Avenue Montaigne boarded up their windows as if bracing for a hurricane but the storm struck anyway Saturday, this time at the height of the holiday shopping season. Protesters ripped off the plywood protecting the windows and threw flares and other projectiles. French riot police repeatedly repelled them with tear gas and water cannon.

Saturday’s yellow vest crowd was overwhelmingly male, a mix of those bringing their financial grievances to Paris — the center of France’s government, economy and culture — along with groups of experienced vandals who tore steadily through some of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods, smashing and burning.

Police and protesters also clashed in other French cities, notably Marseille, Toulouse and Bordeaux, and in neighboring Belgium. Some protesters took aim at the French border with Italy, creating a huge traffic backup near the town of Ventimiglia.

The French government’s plan was to prevent a repeat of the Dec. 2 rioting that damaged the Arc de Triomphe, devastated central Paris and tarnished the country’s global image. It did not succeed, even though it was better prepared.

Although Saturday’s protest in the French capital started out quietly, tear gas choked the Champs-Elysees Avenue by early evening.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said that 135 people had been injured and 974 taken into custody amid protests around the nation. Paris police headquarters counted 71 injuries in the capital, seven of them police officers.

An estimated 125,000 people demonstrated around France while 10,000 took their anger to the streets of Paris, double the number in the capital last week, the interior minister said. Toughening security tactics, French authorities deployed 8,000 security officers in the capital alone, among the 89,000 who fanned out around the country.

A Starbucks near the Champs-Elysees was smashed wide open and people were seen stepping over broken glass and serving themselves to beverages. The window of a nearby bank was smashed in with a wrought-iron decoration used to encircle city tree trunks.

Concert stampede in Italy leaves 6 dead, over 50 hurt

CORINALDO, Italy | Teenagers panicked before a rap concert at a jammed Italian disco, setting off a stampede that killed five of them and a mother who had brought her daughter to the event, authorities and survivors said. Fifty-three people were reported injured, including 13 in very serious condition.

Several survivors said panic spread through the late-night crowd after someone unleashed an irritant spray. Investigators said they were checking those reports.

Video on state TV RaiNews24 showed scores of teenagers rushing out a door and surging toward a low wall near an exit at the Blue Lantern disco in the central Italian town of Corinaldo, near Ancona on the Adriatic coast. The barrier then gives way and a cascade of teenagers tumble over it, falling on top of each other.

The bodies of the trampled victims were all found near a low wall, Ancona Firefighters Cmdr. Dino Poggiali told Sky TG24 News. State radio said most of the dead had their skulls crushed in the melee.

The victims — three girls and two boys — ranged in age from 14 to 16 and the mother who was killed was 39, said Col. Cristian Carrozza, commander of the Ancona province Carabinieri paramilitary police.

—From AP reports