protests

Congo’s bishops criticize excessive force to break up protests

A priest and other demonstrators chanted slogans at a protest organized by Catholic activists in Kinshasa, Congo. At least six people were killed during demonstrations across the country against Congolese President Joseph Kabila and delayed elections.

KINSHASA, Congo — Congo's bishops condemned the "excessive and disproportionate use of force" by security forces that dispersed protesters demanding President Joseph Kabila hold fresh elections in line with a Church-brokered accord.

In a Jan. 22 report, the bishops' conference said "peaceful marches" had been "violently repressed and smothered with tear gas and bursts of fire" in 95 Catholic parishes, leaving six dead and 127 injured, some by police bullets.

AN EDITOR'S LIFE | Focus on change, not chaos

Teak Phillips

Over the past year, St. Louisans have worked together toward common goals of peace and justice. The journey hasn't been perfect, but one would be hard pressed to declare it moot.

But for a short time Aug. 9 and 10, it was easy to wonder. Nights were eerily similar to those a year ago, when protests devolved into riots.

By most accounts -- certainly by those who know Ferguson and the movement that has grown out of it -- the protests again were essentially hijacked by a small group intent on fighting. Semi-professional trouble-makers, perhaps.

Catholics in Baltimore pray for peace, progress in addressing systemic injustices

BALTIMORE -- Prayer provides the strength and patience needed to love neighbors and will help people of Baltimore as they addresses the injustices that led to a night of rioting and looting, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said.

"Given my occupation, I think it's important to start every occasion this way," Archbishop Lori said in response to a reporter's question May 3, which was designated by Maryland Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. as a day of prayer and peace for Baltimore's healing.

Parish 'safe space': a place to decipher protests

St. Louis University students Laura Downing and Nebu Kolenchy talked in the parish center at St. Francis Xavier (College Church) Parish on the SLU campus, where the volunteers were staffing a “safe space” where students and others stopped in to discuss the issues surrounding protests and turmoil in St. Louis following a grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in the shooting of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson.

A student came to the "safe space" at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church on the St. Louis University campus and asked to volunteer. People had gathered here during the turmoil following the announcement that a grand jury did not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. The sanctuary already had enough help, but the student decided to stay and talk.

EDITORIAL | Healing only comes after the truth

Darlene Pendleton, who lives near the shooting, waved her fist over her head crying out “Hands up. Don’t shoot,” during a march protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer.

Amid the strife in Ferguson, the word "execution" has been prominent, as though Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson drove up to unarmed Michael Brown, who sat down in the street, raised his arms in surrender and was shot dead.

The version officials offer is that Brown struggled with Wilson and fought for Wilson's gun. As Brown walked away, police say, he turned and rushed Wilson, who shot and killed Brown to protect himself.

These are vastly different versions of the same event, an event in which the facts have been minimal.

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