Jul 05, 2020
This Is How America Celebrated July 4 During the Coronavirus Pandemic
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Jody SerranoToday 8:32PM•Filed to:Fourth Of JulyFourth Of Julycoronaviruscovid-19Donald TrumpSaveMyrtle Beach in South Carolina on July 4, 2020.Photo: Sean Rayford (Getty Images)
This Fourth of July is unlike any other in recent memory. In many places, absent are familiar scenes of fireworks and get togethers, replaced by warnings and worry about the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has infected at least 2.8 million Americans and killed more than 129,000. But in other places, the celebration goes on, despite the risk.
At the White House, President Donald Trump hosted an Independence Day celebration with crowds of hundreds of people, despite the dire coronavirus case and death count. In other parts of the country, officials urged Americans to exercise caution this Fourth of July, stay home, and take extra precautions to contain this deadly virus.
As a result, people around the U.S. are celebrating the nation’s independence in their own way. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, some of Trump’s supporters held a boat parade to support his re-election. Meanwhile, in Miami Beach, some stared at closed beaches through fences. The beaches were closed for the weekend, and there was a curfew.
This is how America celebrated July 4 during the coronavirus pandemic.Washington, D.C. on July 4, 2020. The National Park Service offers free face masks ahead of the Independence Day celebrations.Photo: Daniel Slim (Getty Images)
In Washington, D.C., National Park Service officials offered free face masks ahead of the Independence Day celebrations.Washington, D.C. on July 4, 2020. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump host an Independence Day event on the South Lawn of the White House.Photo: Saul Loeb (Getty Images)
According to the New York Times, the White House set up tables and chairs for hundreds in the South Lawn for the president’s July 4 celebration. Per the Times, Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said that social distancing would be observed and that face masks would be offered, but not required.
There were few masks, which help reduce the spread of coronavirus, in the crowd.Washington, D.C. on July 4, 2020. Army parachuters carrying a U.S. flag at the White House event on the South Lawn.Photo: Nicholas Kamm (Getty Images)
President Trump watched paratroopers float down with the American flag at the White House. The Associated Press reported that Trump greeted his audience, made up of front-line medical workers and others with a central role in responding to the pandemic, and began to rant and disparage his usual targets.
“We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters, and the people who, in many instances, have absolutely no clue what they are doing,” Trump said. “We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children.
“And we will protect and preserve American way of life, which began in 1492 when Columbus discovered America,” he added.
The president did not mention how many people had died from covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the AP stated. More people have died from the disease in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world.Venice Beach, California on July 4, 2020. Beaches in Los Angeles County, including Venice Beach, are closed through the July 4 holiday weekend in order to slow the spread of coronavirus.Photo: Mario Tama (Getty Images)
Authorities in California took many last-minute measures to control holiday crowds, according to the Los Angeles Times. Fireworks shows were cancelled and beaches were closed in Los Angeles County, which includes Venice Beach, and Ventura County.
On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state would impose new restrictions on indoor activities, closing restaurant dining rooms, wineries, and card rooms for at least three weeks. The order affects 19 counties in the state.Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 4, 2020. About 30 boats and 50 supporters gathered for a boat parade to support the re-election of President Donald Trump.Photo: Jeff Swensen (Getty Images)
Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, dozens of President Trump’s supported gathered in boats for a boat parade to support his re-election. The president’s supporters dressed in red, white, and blue and did not wear masks, per local reports. They were not alone, and clashed with protesters supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.Washington, D.C. on July 4, 2020. Protesters gathered near the Washington Memorial to denounce police brutality and systemic racism.Photo: Roberto Schmidt (Getty Images)
Nonetheless, the president wasn’t the only one who wanted to make a statement and be heard in D.C. on July 4. Protesters gathered near the Washington Memorial to denounce police brutality and systemic racism.Washington, D.C. on July, 2020. A woman holds a sign in front of Lafayette Square near the White House.Photo: Jose Luis Magana (Getty Images)
Protesters also gathered at Lafayette Square.Miami Beach, Florida on July 4, 2020. A woman looks through the fence towards the beach. Miami-Dade County temporarily closed beaches over 4th of July weekend and imposed a curfew.Photo: Cliff Hawkins (Getty Images)
In Miami Beach, Florida, people were allowed to go to restaurants but not to its famous beaches. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued a daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and postponed the opening of entertainment facilities, including movie theaters, arcades, casinos, adult entertainment, and concert houses, among others.Miami Beach, Florida on July 4, 2020. A hostess waits for customers on Ocean Drive.Photo: Cliff Hawkins (Getty Images)
Gimenez said in a statement that people going to restaurants would have to keep their masks on while seated at their table, only removing them to eat and drink.
“We can only tamp down the virus if everyone takes personal responsibility and follows the rules,” Gimenez said. “That means practicing social distancing, staying away from crowds and wearing masks everywhere you go in public, whether inside or outdoors.”Atlanta, Georgia on July 4, 2020. A woman has her temperature screened before entering the DraftKings All-American Team Cup.Photo: Carmen Mandato (Getty Images)
In Atlanta, Georgia, people attended the DraftKings All-American Team Cup, which began on Friday. The cup is the first tennis event in the U.S. to welcome fans during the coronavirus pandemic. After the event on Friday, player Frances Tiafoe tested positive for covid-19 and withdrew from the event.
“I am scheduled to have a second test early next week, but have already begun the quarantine protocol as advised by the medical staff here in Atlanta,” Tiafoe wrote on Twitter. “While I’ve been so excited to get back out there, the health and safety of everyone continues to be a top priority.”More from GizmodoAn American Pickle Is a Classic Immigrant Story, Except for the Pickle ThingDr. Fauci Made the Coronavirus Pandemic Worse by Lying About MasksLinkedIn and Reddit Are The Latest Apps Found to be Snooping On Your ClipboardsYou'll Look Forward to Cutting the Lawn When You Turn Your Riding Mower Into a Tank
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Belarus election results: Why are there protests and who is President Alexander Lukashenko?
President Alexander Lukashenko has been re-elected for a sixth consecutive term in an election that saw his toughest opposition challenge in years.6Protests erupted in several cities in Belarus overnightCredit: EPA
However, there is widespread suspicion that the election was not fair, with two opposition candidates denied places on the ballot before one of them was jailed and the other fled to Russia, Sky News reports.
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, 37, entered in place of her jailed husband and went on to lead large opposition rallies.
But after a state TV exit poll showed Mr Lukashenko was winning 79.7% of the vote, protests broke out.
Squares and streets in the capital Minsk were earlier sealed off by police as Mr Lukashenko vowed that the situation would remain "under control", BBC News reports.Who won the Belarus election?
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko won a landslide re-election victory, the central election commission said today.
Figures released by the election commission this morning gave Lukashenko 80 per cent of the vote.
Svetlana Tikhanouskaya, a former English teacher who stood to become Lukashenko's main rival, won 9.9 per cent of the vote, the data showed.6President Alexander Lukashenko has been re-elected for a sixth consecutive termCredit: Getty Images - Getty
Tikhanouskaya entered the race after her husband, an anti-government blogger who intended to run, was jailed.
Her rallies have drawn some of the biggest crowds since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Reuters reports.
The lead-up to the election saw a crackdown on activists and journalists amid the country's biggest opposition demonstrations in years.
After voting on Sunday, Mr Lukashenko said he did not see Ms Tikhanovskaya as a threat, and denied imposing repressive measures on the opposition.
Meanwhile, Ms Tsikhanouskaya said she did not believe the polls, saying: "I will believe with my own eyes. The majority was for us."6Presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya casts her ballotCredit: Getty Images - Getty Why are there protests?
There have been clashes between police and thousands of protesters who said the vote was rigged during the night.
The protests began after an official exit poll showed that Lukashenko won Sunday's presidential election with 79.7% of the vote, securing a sixth term in office.
At least one person was killed after being knocked over by a police van and dozens were injured in the clashes that began after polling stations closed on Sunday, a representative of the rights group Spring 96 told Reuters.
Human rights groups say more than 1,300 people were detained in the crackdown ahead of the election, including independent election observers and members of Tikhanouskaya's campaign team.6Protesters and riot police clashed overnight in Minsk, BelarusCredit: Getty Images - Getty
Some protesters built barricades with rubbish bins, RIA news agency reported.
Police fired water cannon, tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the protesters.
Interior Ministry spokeswoman Olga Chemodanova said that police efforts to restore order were continuing overnight, according to DW.Who is President Alexander Lukashenko?
Alexander Lukashenko, 65, has been Belarus' president since 1994 and has just been re-elected to serve a sixth term.
Sometimes referred to as Europe's last dictator, President Lukashenko has dismissed his opposition candidate Ms Tikhanovskaya as a "poor little girl", manipulated by foreign "puppet masters".
A former Soviet collective farm manager, Lukashenko has ruled the country since 1994.Most read in NewsFIND RUBYDesperate search for Ruby Alvarado, 7, and her mom who vanished Saturday morningGETTING DON WITH ITInside Trump's secret debate prep, with Chris Christie playing BidenFAMILY SLAUGHTER‘Two adults and three kids’ found dead in family home in ‘murder-suicide’SAFE SEXUniversity tells students to wear coronavirus masks during SEX to stop spreadAT CLOSE RANGEProtester 'shot by cop with pepper-ball launcher says "chest was on fire"'WarningLUCKY TO BE ALIVEBoy, 6, savaged by ‘loveable’ pet dog who ripped his face apart
However, he now faces the biggest challenge in years to keep his grip on power with some voters believing strongly that it is time he stood down.
He has cast himself as a guarantor of stability but has battled a wave of anger over his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, the economy and his human rights record.
Lukashenko has been widely condemned for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic which he said could be treated with saunas and vodka.6Lukashenko has been dubbed Europe's last dictatorCredit: Getty Images - Getty 6A police officer hits a demonstrator during the protestsCredit: EPA