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Britons set to protest against Johnson’s Brexit ‘coup’

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Demonstrations are expected across Britain on Saturday against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s move to suspend parliament in the final weeks before Brexit.

The protests come ahead of an intense political week in which Johnson’s opponents will seek to block the move in court and legislate against a no-deal departure from the European Union.

Organisers said they were hoping hundreds of thousands of people would take part in the demonstrations, organised under the slogan #StopTheCoup.

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“Disruption is the only form of leverage protesters can rely on,” said Michael Chessum, national organiser for the campaign group Another Europe is Possible.

“This process needs to force the government to change its course,” he said.

The left-wing group Momentum, closely allied with the main opposition Labour Party, is calling on its supporters to “occupy bridges and blockade roads”.

Saturday’s main demonstration is expected outside Johnson’s Downing Street office in London from around 1100 GMT and there will be more in around 30 other towns and cities.

Johnson warns MPs

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Johnson, who only came to power a month ago following a Conservative Party leadership election, has promised to lead Britain out of the EU on October 31 with or without an agreement with Brussels.

He has said he is ready to strike a deal as long as provisions for Britain to stay in the customs union even after Brexit are cut from an existing deal struck by his predecessor Theresa May.

But EU leaders have said they are still awaiting concrete proposals from London.

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Johnson’s Brexit adviser David Frost is expected back in Brussels for talks next week.

Opposition MPs and some lawmakers from Johnson’s own Conservatives want him to delay Brexit beyond October 31 if he fails to strike an agreement with the EU.

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The government meanwhile is ramping up preparations in case of no-deal.

Johnson on Friday cautioned MPs against trying to hamper his plans, saying a decision to delay Brexit again would do “lasting damage” to public trust in politics.

He said the opposition’s efforts could in fact help lead to a no-deal Brexit as EU counterparts would be less likely to offer a compromise if they believed Brexit could be stopped.

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1.6 million signatures

Queen Elizabeth II gave her approval to Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for several weeks on Wednesday, sparking widespread outrage, legal challenges and promises of resistance from parliamentarians.

The move was widely seen as a way of limiting the time Johnson’s opponents have to organise against him.

The main opposition Labour Party has said it is also mulling a no-confidence vote in Johnson’s Conservative government, which commands a fragile 320 to 319 majority.

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An online petition calling for the government to reverse its suspension has garnered 1.6 million signatures.

In the courts, a Scottish judge is expected to hear a legal challenge against the suspension on Tuesday the same day MPs return from their summer break for their shortened parliamentary session.

There will be a separate court hearing on Thursday for another challenge that is being supported by John Major, a former Conservative prime minister and staunch opponent of Brexit.

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‘Quiet!’ Trump erupts as reporters question him about witness intimidation — and demands ‘freedom of speech’

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President Donald Trump on Friday got into a testy exchange with reporters after they asked him whether his angry tweet at former American ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch constituted witness intimidation.

While talking with reporters, Trump falsely claimed that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee had been prevented from asking questions during Yovanovitch's testimony.

"We have the right to speak!" the president fumed. "I have freedom of speech just as other people do but they have taken away the Republicans rights. I watched today as certain very talented people, who wanted to ask questions, and they weren’t even allowed to ask questions, Republicans. They weren’t allowed to ask questions."

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Laughter breaks out inside hearing room as Dem mocks GOP’s attempts to downplay smear campaign against Yovanovitch

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During the second public House impeachment hearing this Friday, Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL) took a dig at President Trump in light of testimony from former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who recounted how she became the target of a smear campaign orchestrated by Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, along with the help of the right-wing news media. After her ouster from her position, Yovanovitch returned to Washington and took up a role as a senior State Department fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.

"It's like a Hallmark movie -- you ended up at Georgetown. This is all okay," Quigley said sarcastically, prompting laughter from the room.

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Dozens of groups urge California Gov. Gavin Newsom to ‘facilitate a public takeover of PG&E’

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"PG&E would be in prison, if it were a citizen, given how many people have died at its hands."

As the West Coast's wildfire season continues, dozens of progressive organizations sent a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom Thursday urging the first-term Democrat to "facilitate a public takeover of PG&E to protect ratepayers, California communities, and our climate."

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