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Emails reveal racists plotted confrontation with Black Lives Matters activists days before shooting

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Three white men wearing bulletproof vests and covering their face with masks shot five Black Lives Matter protesters Monday night in Minneapolis — and some social media users are claiming the gunmen fired in self-defense.

The men, described by some witnesses as white supremacists, wounded five demonstrators shortly before 11 p.m. outside the city’s Fourth Precinct during an ongoing protest of the police shooting death of 24-year-old Jamar Clark.

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Police said Tuesday afternoon that a 23-year-old white man and a 32-year-old Hispanic man had been arrested in connection with the shooting.

Demonstrators say masked men wearing military-style clothing have been harassing them for days during the protests, and Black Lives Matter Minneapolis posted a video Friday of two men on their way to disrupt the protests.

VIDEO: Last night 2 white supremacists, one carrying a pistol, showed up to our peaceful protest at the 4th precinct.After community members on livestream started questioning them they left without incident, then we later found a video of them en route to the protest brandishing a pistol and making comments including “stay white” and justifying the killing of Jamar Clark.It has come to our attention that members of this group plan on returning tonight to our candlelight vigil at 4:30, some may come armed. [See: http://pastebin.com/FkA1B2rq]They say they will be wearing the “4 of clubs” to identify one another, so watch for this badge or patch on their clothing.In the era of white supremacist terrorism against people of color across the U.S., we refuse to be intimidated by hate groups. We call on our supporters to join us tonight to continue to demand #Justice4Jamar and an end to violence against our community, whether by white supremacist citizens, or white supremacist Police like MPD union president Bob Kroll.

Posted by Black Lives Matter Minneapolis on Friday, November 20, 2015

It’s not clear whether the two men in the video are connected to Monday’s shooting, and it’s not clear how Black Lives Matter obtained that video.

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White supremacists have discussed various strategies online for sparking confrontation at the demonstration, which they described as a “chimpout.”

“Do you know if the BLM n*****s are planning to protest again tomorrow, and if so, at what time?” one white supremacist asked in an email chain.

They agreed to wear camouflage clothing and display a four of clubs to identify each other, and the white supremacist agitators argued over whether they should carry guns or wear Guy Fawkes masks.

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The white supremacist mocked “social justice warriors” and other anti-racist whites, who they described in psychosexual terms.

“Best to act as much like a beta white cuck as much as you can,” one of the racists said.

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RELATED: Minnesota NAACP leader says police are ‘behind’ the Black Lives Matter shooting

The activists said groups of men had been appearing at the demonstration and “acting shady” since Friday, so they put together a “safety committee” to watch for potential agitators and escort them away from the protests.

That’s apparently what happened just before the shooting, when some of the protesters confronted three men, described by witnesses as two white men and possibly one Asian man.

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Witnesses say the gunmen were trying to record demonstrators’ faces on cell phone video shortly before opening fire, and the two groups argued.

Then a group of protesters charged at the men and demanded they remove their masks, but witnesses said the men shouted back, “f*ck no,” and continued recording cell phone video.

A demonstrator, who spoke on camera with a mask covering his face, said one of the men was carrying a Black Lives Matter sign.

The witness said a demonstrator came out of the crowd and punched one of the white men, and another man stepped back and reached toward his waistband.

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“I was like, he’s got a gun, he’s got a gun,” said a second witness, who also covered his face on camera.

The demonstrators said the three men then walked away from the crowd and through a gate, where another protester punched one of the men, and the three men ran off with several protesters behind.

“I was like, they’ve got a gun — don’t follow them,” the second witness said. “Don’t chase them — they’re reaching for a gun.”

The witnesses said the men then stopped in an area where no cameras were present, turned around and opened fire on the six protesters who had been chasing them.

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They wounded five of them, although police have said none of their injuries were life-threatening.

The gunmen then ran to an SUV and drove away, witnesses said.

Two of the men remain at large.

Minnesota is not among 33 states with “stand your ground” laws that allow for deadly force in self-defense when retreat is possible, although state law does permit a person to protect their personal property with deadly force.

Watch this interview with two witnesses to the shooting:

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No let-up in French strikes as fresh turmoil hits weekend

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The most serious nationwide strike to hit France in years caused new weekend travel turmoil on Saturday, with unions warning the walkouts would last well into next week.

The challenge thrown to President Emmanuel Macron over his plans for radical pension reform has seen hundreds of thousands take to the streets and key transport services brought to a standstill.

The strikes, which began on Thursday, have recalled the winter of 1995, when three weeks of huge stoppages forced a social policy U-turn by the then-government.

Unions have vowed a second series of mass demonstrations nationwide on Tuesday after big rallies on Thursday and there is expected to be little easing of the transport freezes over the coming days.

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PG&E agrees to $13.5 billion payout for deadly California fires

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California's Pacific Gas and Electric will pay $13.5 billion to settle lawsuits over its role in a series of wildfires that killed scores of people and destroyed thousands of homes, the utility giant said Friday.

Faulty PG&E powerlines were blamed for sparking last year's so-called Camp Fire in northern California -- the deadliest in the state's history -- that left 86 people dead.

Outdated facilities including vulnerable wooden poles and failure to deforest land surrounding high-voltage transmission lines were blamed for the inferno, prompting accusations the San Francisco-based firm had put profit before safety.

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Russia likely listened to Trump when he used unsecured phone to call Giuliani: security officials

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Russia likely learned of President Donald Trump’s Ukraine dealings months before they were exposed by a whistleblower report, because he used unsecured phone lines to speak with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, current and former officials told The Washington Post.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Phone records released in the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report this week showed that Giuliani made multiple calls to a blocked number listed as “-1.” Though Trump is not identified by name in the records, investigators believe the number belongs to Trump, and administration officials confirmed that Trump spoke with Giuliani on unsecured lines.

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