For more than a year, federal prosecutors have been investigating the Capitol riot, and at least 700 people have been charged, mostly with lower-level crimes. So it was stunning when prosecutors last week charged the leader of the far-right militia group known as the Oath Keepers, along with 10 other members or associates, with seditious conspiracy. That's a a rarely-used Civil War-era statute reserved for only the most serious of political criminals. But court documents show how long in the making it was that Donald Trump’s most fervent and dangerous supporters mobilized to subvert the 2020 election results through force and violence, even though there was no widespread election fraud.
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FILE - A protestor waves a sign which reads 'freedom' in the middle of French flags during a demonstration in Paris, France, Saturday, July 31, 2021. Demonstrators gathered in several cities in France on Saturday to protest against the COVID-19 pass, which grants vaccinated individuals greater ease of access to venues. (AP Photo/Michel Euler File)
The seditious conspiracy case against members and associates of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group marks the boldest attempt so far by the government to prosecute those who attacked the U.S. Capitol. But invoking the rarely used charge carries considerable risks. Still, legal experts who have reviewed the indictment unsealed this past week against Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and 10 others say prosecutors stand a good chance of winning convictions on allegations that the defendants were working together to use force to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power. The Civil War-era charge is hard to prove, and scholars say overzealousness in applying it, going back centuries, also discredited its use.
Environmental protesters are once again demanding the cancelation of plans for lithium mining in western Serbia. They took to the streets again Saturday in the Balkan nation, blocking roads and, for the first time, a border crossing. Traffic on Serbia's main north-south highway was halted by the protests for more than an hour, along with several other roads throughout the country, including one on the border with Bosnia. The road blockade by banner-holding protesters briefly prevented people from crossing the border with Bosnia. Environmental groups want Serbia's populist government to fully abolish plans by the Rio Tinto company to build a lithium mine in western Serbia. Environmental issues are becoming a rising concern in Serbia due to air, water and waste pollution.
The mass protests in Kazakhstan that began over New Year's weekend because of high fuel prices were peaceful at first, but then something changed. At demonstrations in the largest city of Almaty, protesters say groups of armed men reportedly joined the peaceful rallies and urged them to storm police stations and government buildings. Soon, city hall was ablaze, cars and buses were set on fire and gunshots rang out. Scores of people were killed and thousands arrested. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has blamed the unrest on “terrorists” who received foreign training and support, but the government has not presented any evidence to support its allegation. Protesters say their peaceful rallies were somehow undermined, leading to the crackdown.
Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group and its main Shiite ally say they are ending their boycott of Cabinet meetings after three months. The deadlock has worsened the small Mideast nation's unprecedented economic meltdown. The two Shiite groups said in a joint statement on Saturday they will attend Cabinet sessions to approve a new budget and measures for dealing with the two-year crisis, and to discuss a recovery plan. They had boycotted the Cabinet since October, demanding changes in the national probe of the devastating August 2020 explosion in Beirut's port. A government-approved recovery plan is a prerequisite for resuming discussions with the International Monetary Fund.
A protest march by 1,500 far-left activists in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki has turned violent. At the end of the march on Saturday, some protesters threw firebombs and rocks at riot police, who responded with stun grenades and tear gas. Police said about 30 people were detained. The march was the culmination of a week of protests over the New Year’s Eve eviction of activists who had occupied a room at Aristotle University’s biology department for 34 years. The department decided it needed the room to expand its library.
Riot policemen run through flames from petrol bombs during a rally in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, Greece, on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. The rally was the culmination of a week of protests over the New Year's Eve eviction of activists who had occupied a room at the university's Biology department for 34 years and turned violent towards its end, when some of the marchers threw firebombs and rocks at riot police, who responded with stun grenades and tear gas. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
Protesters throw petrol bombs toward policemen during a rally in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, Greece, on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. The rally was the culmination of a week of protests over the New Year's Eve eviction of activists who had occupied a room at the university's Biology department for 34 years and turned violent towards its end, when some of the marchers threw firebombs and rocks at riot police, who responded with stun grenades and tear gas. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)