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Trial of US far right killer can’t be trusted

The rigged trial of Kyle Rittenhouse may lead to an explosion of anger, reports Sophie Squire
Issue 2781
Kyle Rittenhouse supporters at a protest

Kyle Rittenhouse supporters (Wikimedia/ Lightburst)

A trial in the United States was set to decide this week whether far right gunmen can shoot down protesters and walk away free.

Closing arguments in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, who opened fire at a Black Lives Matter (BLM) ­protest last year, began on Monday. 

Rittenhouse was charged with homicide after killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber at a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on 25 August 2020. 

He was also charged with attempted homicide for the shooting of Gaige Grosskreutz. Rittenhouse claims self-defence.

The protest was organised in response to the racist shooting of Jacob Blake by white police officer Rusten Sheskey in Kenosha two days before. 

It was part of the great wave of protests against police brutality and racism in the US that brought tens of millions to the streets.

The trial has been bitterly ­contested, with the far right and even some Republican representatives describing Rittenhouse as a “hero”. 

Announced

Judge Bruce Schroeder is ­presiding over the trial. He has already ruled that the words “victims” or even “alleged victims” cannot be used to describe Rosenbaum, Huber or Grosskreuz in the courtroom. 

But he did allow the defence to call them “arsonists”, “rioters”, or “looters”. Schroeder has also disregarded evidence that Rittenhouse was a supporter of far right ideas.  

Before the killings in Kenosha, ­Rittenhouse openly announced that he was ready to shoot shoplifters with his assault rifle. 

After he was freed on bail he was seen flashing “white power” signs and posing for pictures with Proud Boys members.

Schroeder said that there was no connection between “wishing to shoot shoplifters” and the killing of protesters. Last week Schroeder’s phone rang in court, with Lee Greenwood’s, God Bless the USA as he ringtone. The song has been  adopted by supporters of Donald Trump, who used it at rallies.

While the BLM movement was still on the streets Trump told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” during a presidential debate. 

He added that “somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left.”

After the attack Trump backed Rittenhouse, telling the media that he had acted in “self-defence”. 

In a memo that was later leaked, Trump informed Homeland Security officials to make clear that Rittenhouse “took his rifle to the scene of the rioting to help defend small business owners”.

Republican representative Majorie Taylor Greene also defended Rittenhouse in a tweet. 

She said, “He is more of a man than the pundits and blue ­checkmarks that claim He/Him in their profiles that are attacking.” 

If Rittenhouse is found not guilty, there is the potential for a huge wave of angry protests against a rigged and racist judicial system. 

Whatever the outcome, ­protests must continue to rage against the far right and racism ingrained within every institution of the US state.


Unvaccinated lockdown hits wrong targets in Austria

Austria is forcing people who aren’t fully vaccinated into lockdown.

Those aged over 12 who haven’t received two vaccine doses are only allowed to leave their homes for work, school, exercise and buying essential items.

About two million people—22 percent of Austria’s population—will be affected.

The restrictions are set to last ten days.

Singling unvaccinated people out ignores legitimate reasons why they may not be vaccinated

And those unable to access health information due to language barriers, fear of the authorities or illiteracy will be unfairly targeted.

Austria’s move is likely to be replicated in other European countries with high Covid rates.

But the move highlights Austria’s failed vaccine rollout. Now its leaders are using the opportunity to shift blame onto ordinary people.

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