An evangelical church in Argentina reopened as a bar in protest against the lockdown on religious services that remains in place despite the gradual opening up of other activities in this country.
“We are standing here today dressed like this, carrying a tray, because it seems this is the only way we can serve the word of god,” pastor Daniel Cattaneo, dressed as a waiter, said opening the “worship bar” at the Comunidad Redentor (Redeemer Community) evangelical church in the city of San Lorenzo, in Argentina’s central province of Santa Fe Wednesday.
“So apart from the breaded veal headed for table four, here goes the word of god from the house of the lord to all nations.”
Bar tables were placed inside the church and pastors dressed up as waiters carried bibles on their trays in a mock service meant to draw attention to the evangelist’s demand that religious services be allowed despite Argentina’s coronavirus lockdown.
“We want to exercise our constitutional right to practice our faith,” pastor Cattaneo told local media. “Bars can open, shops can open, why are they discriminating against us?”
Although the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly in Argentina’s capital city of Buenos Aires and its surrounding Greater Buenos Area the rest of the country remains relatively Covid-free. The province of Santa Fe, where Cattaneo’s church is located, has been especially successful at containing the virus and has started reopening activities, including bars, but churches are still being allowed to receive a maximum 10 people per service.
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As US president Donald Trump continues to fearmonger over Twitter about the hundreds of protesters who have occupied several city blocks in Seattle and dubbed them a police-free “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” Seattle’s mayor has responded that “Seattle is fine.”
The autonomous zone “has both a protest and street fair vibe, with a small garden, medic station, smoking area, and a “No Cop Co-op”, where people can get supplies and food at no cost,” Hallie Golden reported for The Guardian yesterday. One activist said the takeover was reminiscent of the Occupy movement.
Daily Beast reporter Kelly Weill also noted that claims that local businesses were being harmed by the takeover had been walked back, and that many local business owners were quite supportive of “CHAZ,” although one feared that it might distract attentionfrom the key demands of the Black Lives Matter movement.
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Welcome to our Covid-19 coverage
Good morning, and welcome to today’s live coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As authorities in many countries are still struggling to contain the virus, protests are being held throughout the world following the brutal death of unarmed man George Floyd in the US on 25 May. A police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, ignoring Floyd’s protests of “I can’t breathe”.
The event sparked organisers from the Black Lives Matter movement to organise protests, which have been occurring throughout the US, Australia and the UK.
- US president Donald Trump has since announced he will be holding an election campaign rally on 19 June, known in the US as Juneteenth, one of the oldest official celebrations commemorating the end of slavery. Attendees are being encouraged to sign a liability waiver to acknowledge that by attending, they are at risk of acquiring or spreading Covid-19.
- Meanwhile, in an interview with Fox news where Trump was asked to address the way chokeholds have been unfairly used by police against African Americans like George Floyd, Trump responded that: “I think the concept of chokeholds sounds so innocent and so perfect”. He added, however that “generally” speaking, chokeholds should not be used.
- White house infectious disease expert and member of the White House coronavirus task force, Anthony Fauci, said that attending a protest is “risky”.
- Black Lives Matter advocates and refugee activists will hold protests throughout Australia on Saturday, despite warnings from health authorities they could lead to Covid-19 outbreaks. Australia’s chief medical officer, Prof Brendan Murphy, said on Friday, “These sort of events really are dangerous”. However the prime minister, Scott Morrison, announced on the same day that major sports stadiums may allow 10,000 people by July.
- Brazil’s death toll has overtaken the UK’s. There have been 41,828 deaths in Brazil, the country’s health ministry said, with only the US having more fatalities. The UK’s death toll is 41,566, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
- Breastfeeding mothers do not seem to be passing on Covid-19 to their infants, a World Health Organization expert has said. New mothers infected with the virus should generally continue breastfeeding if they wish to and should not be separated from their babies, the WHO said, stressing that the benefits outweighed the risks.