Belarus police will fire on protesters if necessary, says deputy interior minister | Belarus

Security forces in Belarus could fire on protesters if they deem it necessary, a minister has warned, as EU foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions personally targeting President Alexander Lukashenko.

Gennady Kazakevich, the first deputy interior minister, said in a video statement: “We will not leave the streets, and law enforcement officers and internal troops if necessary will use riot control equipment and lethal weapons.”

The statement was the first time the authorities have explicitly threatened to use firearms against opposition demonstrators and would mark a major escalation in the two-month standoff between Lukashenko and protesters, who have staged peaceful rallies against his disputed re-election in August and against the abuse and torture of detainees.

The warning came after security forces cracked down harshly on anti-Lukashenko protests on Sunday, prompting EU foreign ministers to agree it was time to sanction Lukashenko himself.

Late on Monday, officers used tear gas and stun grenades against a group of older people holding a regular protest march, prompting outrage from the opposition.

The protests broke out when Lukashenko claimed victory in elections held on 9 August that are widely regarded as rigged. Popular opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who claims to be the true winner, has been based in Lithuania since she was forced to flee after being threatened in a conversation with officials the night after the election.

In Belarus, police have so far acknowledged using water cannon, rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the protesters.

Kazakevich claimed that protests had become “extremely radical”, saying stones and bottles were thrown at police on Sunday by protesters armed with knives, who built barricades and set fire to tyres. “This has nothing in common with civil protest,” the deputy minister said, claiming that “groups of fighters, radicals, anarchists and football fans” were taking part.

Belarus was facing attempts to revive the “chaos of the 1990s” and foment the “colour revolutions” that have toppled pro-Kremlin leaders in other ex-Soviet states, he said.

His statement came as police have used some of the harshest tactics yet against protesters.

On Monday, men in balaclavas carrying batons confronted a crowd of mainly middle-aged and older women carrying placards with slogans such as “the grandmothers are with the people”, video footage by Tut.by independent news site showed.

Minsk police spokesman Roman Lashkevich told Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency: “We deployed stun grenades from an Osa flare gun and fired teargas when the citizens started to show aggression”.

“Today the regime crossed yet another line,” Tikhanovskaya said in a statement, pointing out that older Belarusians had once been seen as Lukashenko’s most loyal demographic.

The men in balaclavas were shown spraying teargas from inside their vehicles as protesters angry at the detention of demonstrators threw flowers at them and shouted “Fascists!” and “Cowards!”

Later, protesters in Minsk blocked roads and set tyres on fire, as military vehicles drove through the city centre, Tut.by reported.

During Sunday’s mass protests, police deployed water cannon and stun grenades in Minsk, detaining more than 700

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Belarus Interior Ministry: Army will use lethal force on protesters

This article contains graphic descriptions and imagery. Discretion is advised.The Belarusian armed forces will use lethal force and “special equipment” against anti-government protesters, First Deputy Interior Minister Henadz Kazakevich said Monday afternoon.

“We have informed the public on the results of the mass events that were organized across the country October 11, as well as the measures taken to maintain public order,” Kazakevich said in a video address

“That being said, the protests, the epicenter of which has mostly moved to Minsk, have become organized and extremely radical,” the state police official continued.

“Consequently,” said Kazakevich, “interior affairs servicemen and the interior troops will not leave the streets and, if necessary, will use special equipment and live ammunition.”

Directed by Minister Yury Karayeu, the republic’s Ministry of Internal Affairs is responsible for law enforcement and general security comes under the command of National Security Advisor Viktor Lukashenko, President Alexander Lukashenko’s eldest son.

A mother-agency for the Belarusian Militia, the Presidential Guard and the state’s Internal Troops – a paramilitary special forces division – the ministry has been working parallel to the State Security Committee (KGB) since the two split from the Belarusian NKVD in 1946.

The first reported case of ammunition being used against peaceful demonstrators in the recent wave of protests was on August 10 with the death of anti-government protester Aliaksandar Taraikouski the night after the contested general election.

With authorities first claiming the man died as an improvised explosive device detonated in his hands, footage filmed by an Associated Press reporter showed Taraikouski was shot in the upper abdomen while walking with his hands raised in front of a cordon.

Police did, however, acknowledge opening fire on demonstrators in the city of Brest (Bierascie) on the Belarusian tri-border with Poland and Ukraine, killing one, Radio Free Europe reported.



According to the media outlet, despite sporadic shootings, the minister’s Monday statement is the first time Belarusian authorities have explicitly threatened to use lethal force against protesters, marking a significant escalation.

As Kazakevich’s address was made during a nationwide elderly “grandmas against violence” march, the Monday protests became more active toward the evening, with pro-opposition Telegram channel Nexta TV posting footage of barricades being established by demonstrators in the capital.

At least 700 people have been detained on Monday, some being transported to the Akrescina (Okrestina) detention facility.

Monday night, a group of anonymous Belarusian activists called on demonstrators to establish roadblocks across the capital early Tuesday morning, “in order to help the city strike.”

Clashes first broke out in Belarus on election night as official preliminary results gave President Alexander Lukashenko, in power since 1994, over 80% of the votes, with opposition candidate Tsichanouskaya scoring 10%. The opposition claimed Lukashenko received closer to 20% of the votes.

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Interior Minister: Police use of force dispersing Helsinki protesters “to be evaluated” | Yle Uutiset

Interior minister Maria Ohisalo (Green) has said that she is currently reviewing an initial report on police actions during a climate demonstration that took place in downtown Helsinki on Saturday. The report centred on police use of force — including the use of pepper spray — to disperse protesters who had blocked a street in the capital.

“Was police use of force during the Extinction Rebellion [Elokapina] today proportionate? We have received an initial report on the matter and it is being reviewed. The use of force must always be a last resort and there must be compelling reasons for it,” Ohisalo tweeted on Saturday evening.

“These actions must be evaluated and guidelines must be updated if needed. It is also always good to explain the reasons for the use of force. Ultimately, police actions are supervised by the Parliamentary Ombudsman,” she added in a follow-up tweet.

The minister’s intervention via Twitter followed a situation in which police said that they dispersed dozens of Extinction Rebellion climate protesters who had blocked a street in downtown Helsinki early Saturday evening.

The demonstration took place at the intersection of Kaisaniemenkatu and Unionkatu. Several police patrols responded to the protest, which called for action on climate change.

MPs weigh in on incident

Some of the demonstrators had reportedly been removed from their posts on Kaisaniemenkatu and taken to police vehicles. Police also confirmed that they used pepper spray to break up the protest. However the use of force sparked heated commentary on social media, with several lawmakers weighing in on the discussion.

MPs from the Greens, Left Alliance and Centre parties expressed concern over the actions of police. Former Left Alliance chair Paavo Arhinmäki called on Ohisalo to reach out to police over the matter.

Police said in a tweet that they had resorted to the mildest possible use of force to reopen the busy city street.

“Protesters in the street did not obey several commands from police to stop blocking the street and preventing the movement of traffic. Because of this police resorted to use of force, deploying pepper spray to disperse the crowd,” police tweeted.

Video recorded at the scene indicated that despite being subjected to the spray several times, demonstrators did not leave the scene. Police then physically carried protesters away.

Later on Saturday evening police confirmed that dozens of people had been held and said that all of the protesters who had been detained had been released.

Helsinki Regional Transport (HSL) said on Saturday that the demonstration had caused some disruption to bus and tram traffic, but that the situation returned to normal later in the evening.

Violent reactions from spray

Organisers of the demonstration said that police had detained 51 people out of a total of a few hundred protesters.

The climate protesters blocked Kaisaniemenkatu by sitting in the street while in some instances attached to each other.

“With relatively little warming police used something like pepper spray on people at close range,” Extinction Rebellion Emergency Brake

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Protesters Paint ‘Let the People Decide’ Mural Outside Mitch McConnell’s House Ahead of Barrett Nomination

Protesters painted a “let the people decide” mural outside Mitch McConnell’s home in Washington D.C. on Saturday ahead of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walking to the Senate Floor in Washington D.C. on September 23, 2020.


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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walking to the Senate Floor in Washington D.C. on September 23, 2020.

March for Our Lives activists calling for the Supreme Court selection to be delayed until after Election Day gathered outside McConnell’s house this afternoon. The group, dressed in blue, shouted for justice and chalked a large mural that read, “Hey Mitch. We call BS. Let the people decide.”

Their demonstration came hours before Trump announced his Supreme Court nomination at the White House. “Today it is my honor to nominate one of our nation’s most brilliant and gifted legal minds to the Supreme Court,” the president said in the Rose Garden. “She is a woman of unparalleled achievement, towering intellect, sterling credentials and unyielding loyalty to the Constitution—Judge Amy Coney Barrett.”

Newsweek reached out to McConnell’s office for comment.

Democrats and Trump critics have urged Republicans to wait until voters cast their ballots in the presidential election on November 3 before confirming the next Supreme Court justice. They have called on the Senate to act consistently with the decision in 2016 to block Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. At the time, Republican senators refused to hold a vote or hearing as they believed it was too close to the election.

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However, the GOP-controlled Senate has already indicated that Trump’s nominee would receive their vote. “The historical precedent is overwhelming, and it runs in one direction. If our Democratic colleagues want to claim they are outraged, they can only be outraged at the plain facts of American history,” McConnell said last week.

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At least two Republican senators have indicated that they will not support a vote on Barrett before Election Day. Republican Susan Collins of Maine on Tuesday said she will vote against any nominee before November 3 and urged her colleagues to follow the same procedure set by Garland in 2016.

“I made it very clear, yes, that I did not think there should be a vote prior to the election. And if there is one, I would oppose the nominee,” Collins told reporters, “not because I might not support that nominee under normal circumstances, but we’re simply too close to the election.”

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has sided with Collins. She also said the Senate shouldn’t vote before Americans vote.

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student climate protesters urge their universities to go carbon neutral

As West coast wildfires color the skies dystopian red and orange and an aggressive hurricane season batters the US Gulf coast, college students are demanding their schools take bold action to address the climate crisis.



Ramkumar Raman et al. holding a sign posing for the camera: Photograph: Jim West/Alamy


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Photograph: Jim West/Alamy

Caitlyn Daas is among them. The senior at Appalachian State University and organizer with the Appalachian Climate Action Collaborative (ClimACT) stands on the frontlines of her school’s grassroots push to go “climate neutral”, part of a years-long, national movement that has inspired hundreds of institutional commitments to reduce academia’s carbon footprint.

That concept, ‘our house is burning,’ was a metaphor. But really in 2020, it is literal.

Laura England

Carbon neutrality commitments typically require schools to dramatically cut their carbon emissions by reimagining how they run their campuses — everything from the electricity they purchase to the air travel they fund. Colleges across the country, from the University of San Francisco to American University in Washington DC have already attained carbon neutrality. Other academic institutions, including the University of California system, have taken steps to fully divest from fossil fuels.

But as young activists like Daas urge their universities to do their part to avert climate disaster, many are frustrated by tepid responses from administrators whom they feel lack their same sense of urgency and drive. Appalachian State, part of the University of North Carolina system, has committed to reaching net-zero emissions decades down the line, but Daas and her fellow activists fear that’s far too late. She’s baffled that an institution devoted to higher learning is seemingly ignoring the science around the climate emergency.



a group of people holding a sign: The Detroit March for Justice, which brought together those concerned about the environment, racial justice and similar issues


© Photograph: Jim West/Alamy
The Detroit March for Justice, which brought together those concerned about the environment, racial justice and similar issues

“If our voices don’t matter, can you please stop telling us that they do?” Daas says.

College activists concerned about the climate crisis have largely focused their efforts on two popular movements that go hand-in-hand: reaching carbon neutrality, and divesting university endowments. Broadly, the term “net carbon neutrality” means that a campus zeroes out all of its carbon emissions, says Timothy Carter, president of Second Nature, a nonprofit focused on climate action in higher education. This can be achieved through modifying campus operations, often with the help of alternatives, such as renewable energy certificates and voluntary carbon offsets (activities that atone for other emissions). In Second Nature’s definition, investment holdings don’t factor in a school’s carbon footprint. Carbon neutrality often falls within a wider umbrella of climate neutrality, which also incorporates justice and other concerns.



a man walking across a grass covered field: Students walk at the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina on 7 August 2020. Photograph: Jonathan Drake/Reuters


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Students walk at the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina on 7 August 2020. Photograph: Jonathan Drake/Reuters

Divestment campaigns, meanwhile, pressure universities to shed investments in fossil fuels in their endowments. “We cannot truly be climate neutral if we continue to invest in a fossil fuel industry,” says Nadia Sheppard, chair of the Climate Reality Project campus corps chapter at North Carolina State University, where

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Military Police Considered Using Heat Ray on White House Protesters, Whistle-Blower Says

Top administration officials have defended the response to the protests, arguing that law enforcement officers in the square in the days leading up to the clash had been met with violence from bad actors. Testifying before Congress in July, Gregory T. Monahan, the Park Police’s acting chief, said that his officers acted with “tremendous restraint.”

Top Republican lawmakers, as well as Attorney General William P. Barr, have previously sought to discredit Major DeMarco, noting that he ran as a Democratic House candidate in 2018.

Major DeMarco, who also testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources as part of the panel’s investigation into the clash, offered a starkly different picture, telling lawmakers that the police used “excessive” force on protesters.

The heat ray that officials had sought was developed with the intent of repelling individuals without injury. But military news releases describe the technology as causing an “unbearable heating sensation,” and a system deployed to Afghanistan with the Air Force in 2010 ultimately was never used and was withdrawn, in part, some speculated, because of public opposition.

In a meeting days before the 2018 midterm elections, Customs and Border Protection officials suggested using the device on migrants at the southwestern border, but the idea shocked attendees, and Kirstjen Nielsen, then the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, angrily dismissed the idea outright.

Major DeMarco, in his written testimony, also told lawmakers that military officials had sought out powerful sound cannons known as Long Range Acoustic Devices, which can be used to loudly issue commands to crowds but can also serve as a deterrent. A federal judge in New York ruled in 2017 that the sound the cannons emit could be considered a form of force, after the police used such a device to emit a series of piercing beeps directed at protesters who later said they had developed ringing in their ears and dizziness because of the noise.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs and John Ismay contributed reporting.

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Federal officials considered using ‘heat ray’ on protesters outside White House, military whistleblower says

A military whistleblower says federal officials sought some unusual crowd control devices — including one that’s been called a “heat ray” — to deal with protesters outside the White House on the June day that law enforcement forcibly cleared Lafayette Square.

In written responses to questions from a House committee, National Guard Maj. Adam DeMarco said the Defense Department’s lead military police officer for the National Capital Region sent an email asking if the D.C. National Guard possessed a long-range acoustic device — used to transmit loud noises — or an “Active Denial System,” the so-called heat ray.

DeMarco said he responded that the Guard was not in possession of either device. National Public Radio and The Washington Post first reported DeMarco’s testimony.

Use of either the acoustic device or the Active Denial System would have been a significant escalation of crowd control for the Guard members, particularly since the Defense officials ordered that the Guard troops not be armed when they went into D.C.

Law enforcement personnel were armed. And although active-duty military troops were sent to the region, they remained at bases outside the District in case they were needed but never actually entered the District.

The Active Denial System was developed by the military nearly two decades ago, and was unveiled to the public around 2007. It’s not clear that it’s ever actually been used in combat, although there are reports it has deployed.

The system, which emits a directed beam of energy that causes a burning heat sensation, was considered a non-lethal way to control crowds, particularly when it may be difficult to tell the enemy from innocent civilians in war zones. Use of the device appeared to stall amid questions about whether it actually caused more serious injuries or burns than initially thought.

The Long Range Acoustic Device, also called a sound cannon, sends out loud messages or sounds and has been used by law enforcement to disperse crowds. The U.S. military has, in recent years, ordered the LRAD for the Navy’s Military Sealift Command to be used by ships to hail or warn other vessels.

DeMarco testified in late July before the House Natural Resources Committee, which is investigating the use of force against crowds in Lafayette Square that night. His remarks on the crowd control devices came in response to follow-up questions from the committee. DeMarco’s lawyer sent his answers to the committee on Aug. 28; NPR posted the document online Wednesday.

The Trump administration has said that vicious attacks by protesters led federal forces to turn on what appeared to be a largely peaceful crowd June 1 in the square in front of the White House. Law enforcement and security officers that night clubbed and punched protesters and unleashed mounted officers and chemical agents against them in one of the most controversial confrontations at the height of this year’s nationwide protests over the killing of Black people at the hands of police.

The forceful clearing of Lafayette Square, long one of the

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US military police ‘sought use of heat ray’ to disperse White House protesters | US policing

A military whistleblower has said federal officials sought some unusual crowd control devices, including a so-called heat ray, to disperse protesters outside the White House in June.

In written responses to questions from a House committee, the national guard major Adam DeMarco said the defence department’s lead military police officer for the national capital region sent an email asking if the Washington DC national guard possessed a long-range acoustic device used to transmit loud noises or an Active Denial System (ADS), the so-called heat ray.

DeMarco said he responded that the guard was not in possession of either device. National Public Radio and the Washington Post first reported DeMarco‘s testimony.

Use of either the acoustic device or the ADS would have been a significant escalation of crowd control for the guard, particularly since the defence officials ordered that guard troops not be armed when they went into the area. Law enforcement personnel were armed.

Athough active-duty military troops were sent to the region, they remained at bases outside the district in case they were needed.

The ADS was developed by the military nearly two decades ago and was unveiled to the public around 2007. It is not clear if it has ever been used in combat, although reports suggest it has been deployed.

The system, which emits a directed beam of energy that causes a burning sensation, was considered a non-lethal way to control crowds, particularly when it may be difficult to tell the enemy from innocent civilians in war zones.

Use of the device appeared to stall amid questions about whether it actually caused more serious injuries or burns than initially thought.

The long-range acoustic device, also called a sound cannon, sends out loud messages or sounds and has been used by law enforcement to disperse crowds.

The US military has, in recent years, ordered the cannon for the navy’s Military Sealift Command to be used by ships to hail or warn other vessels.

DeMarco testified in late July before the House natural resources committee, which is investigating the use of force against crowds in Lafayette Square that night. His remarks on the crowd-control devices came in response to follow-up questions from the committee.

DeMarco’s lawyer sent his answers to the committee on 28 August; NPR posted the document online Wednesday.

The Trump administration hasclaimed vicious attacks by protesters led federal forces to turn on what appeared to be a largely peaceful crowd on 1 June in the square in front of the White House.

Law enforcement and security officers that night clubbed and punched demonstrators and set mounted officers and chemical agents against them in one of the most controversial confrontations at the height of this year’s nationwide protests over the killing of black people at the hands of police.

The forceful clearing of Lafayette Square, long one of the country’s most prominent venues for demonstrations, came minutes before Donald Trump arrived in the area, en route to stage a photo event in front of a historic church

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Military police inquired about heat rays for use on White House protesters: report

A senior military police officer in the Department of Defense for the D.C. region has questioned whether the National Guard had access to a military heat-ray mechanism that could have been used to disperse protesters outside the White House on June 1.

Documents obtained from the whistleblower, Maj. Adam DeMarco of the D.C. National Guard, show that the Provost Marshal of Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region copied him on an email, inquiring about a long range acoustic device known as LRAD, as well as an Active Denial System (ADS), NPR reported.

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The ADS is a controversial device designed by the military 20 years ago that heats human skin once it comes into direct contact with it, making people immediately want to flee an area.

The mechanism was designed to disperse crowds or targets, without the use of lethal force, NPR reported.

“ADS can provide our troops a capability they currently do not have, the ability to reach out and engage potential adversaries at distances well beyond small arms range, and in a safe, effective, and non-lethal manner,” the Provost Marshal’s email said. “The ADS can immediately compel an individual to cease threatening behavior…[and] provides a sensation of intense heat on the surface of the skin.”

Demonstrators, who had gathered to protest the death of George Floyd, begin to run from tear gas used by police to clear the street near the White House in Washington, Monday, June 1, 2020. (Associated Press)

Demonstrators, who had gathered to protest the death of George Floyd, begin to run from tear gas used by police to clear the street near the White House in Washington, Monday, June 1, 2020. (Associated Press)

“The effect is overwhelming, causing an immediate repel response by the targeted individual,” the email reportedly added.

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DeMarco, who has sought whistleblower protection, said that “the D.C. National Guard was not in possession of either an LRAD or an ADS,” so neither were used against protesters.

The email that DeMarco was copied on, was sent out the same day that tear gas and smoke grenades were used on the protesters near the White House, prior to President Trump posing with a Bible outside St. John’s Episcopal Church on 16th Street, the area that has since been named Black Lives Matter Plaza.

The recent protests were not the first time government officials have considered using the ADS device outside of military use.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection reportedly suggested using the devices to deter migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border during a meeting with then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, The New York Times reported.

But Nielsen “would not authorize the use of such a device,” and stressed that “it should never be brought up again in her presence,” an aide said, according to the Times.

Fox News could not immediately reach the Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region for comment.

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Military leaders asked about using heat ray on protesters outside White House: report

The military police officer with jurisdiction over the Washington, D.C., region inquired about whether the D.C. National Guard had access to a military heat ray for use against protesters in June, according to emails obtained by NPR.

Major Adam DeMarco of the D.C. National Guard told the House Committee on Natural Resources that the Provost Marshal of Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region copied him on an email, seeking an Active Denial System (ADS).

The ADS is designed to heat human targets using millimeter wave technology, according to NPR. Both its effectiveness and the ethics of using it have been controversial since its development decades ago.

The Provost Marshal’s email stated that the “ADS can provide our troops a capability they currently do not have, the ability to reach out and engage potential adversaries at distances well beyond small arms range, and in a safe, effective, and non-lethal manner.”

The device “provides a sensation of intense heat on the surface of the skin. The effect is overwhelming, causing an immediate repel response by the targeted individual,” he added.

The Provost Marshal also requested a long-range acoustic device (LRAD), a sound cannon frequently used to disperse crowds.

Under a 2015 settlement, federal police are required to give large crowds multiple advance warnings to disperse, loudly enough to be heard from blocks away. The LRAD is typically used in such scenarios. The LRAD was not used on June 1, and protesters who were in Lafayette Square said police gave little to no warning.

DeMarco, who has since sought whistleblower protection, responded that “the D.C. National Guard was not in possession of either an LRAD or an ADS.”

The email chain was sent hours before officers deployed tear gas and smoke grenades against protesters in Lafayette Square. After the square was cleared, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn’t think he could’ve done more to stop virus spread Conservative activist Lauren Witzke wins GOP Senate primary in Delaware Trump defends claim coronavirus will disappear, citing ‘herd mentality’ MORE was photographed holding a Bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church.

The Hill has reached out to Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region for comment.

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