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Prosecutors have handed down charges for the two Buffalo Police officers seen shoving an elderly protester in a graphic video earlier this week.

Nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism have brought tens of thousands of Americans into tense and sometimes violent encounters with law enforcement. Many police departments are using crowd-control tactics like barriers, curfews and surveillance and riot-control weapons such as tear gas, rubber bullets and flash bangs.

Albin Kurti became prime minister of Kosovo in February by promising jobs and justice. A former activist who was often arrested at anti-corruption protests and once set off tear gas in parliament, he is described by friends and foes alike as a cross between Che Guevara and Bernie Sanders.

But there's one view he shares with all politicians in Kosovo: He loves the United States.

"I always viewed the United States of America as the greatest ally," Kurti, 45, tells NPR, "an indispensable partner for us in war and in peace, for justice and development and democracy."

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

As of Friday, 15 of the top 20 bestselling books on Amazon were about race or racism. Earlier this week, Code Switch was number one on Apple Podcasts — which, as host Gene Demby said, is "dope," but unfortunately occurred under "soul-crushing circumstances." And The Help is trending on Netflix (ahem, a film that drew immediate ire upon release).

The last week of protests and unrest has put many Americans on edge, especially those in communities of color. Some local leaders, like Sharon Kay, are using the airwaves to help organize and inform their communities.

Megha Majumdar's debut novel, A Burning, is set in modern-day Kolkata, India, and suddenly sounds breathlessly contemporary in the United States, too — a landscape of lockdowns, curfews, fires, and anguished posts on the internet.

It begins with a young woman named Jivan, scrolling through social media accounts of a gruesome terrorist attack near her neighborhood: flaming torches thrown into the windows of a halted train, its doors locked from the outside.

One of my favorite passages from Black Boy, Richard Wright's poetic and searing memoir, which turns 75 this year, goes like this:

I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of the hunger for life that gnaws in us all, to keep alive in our hearts a sense of the inexpressibly human.

When Mickey Guyton signed a Nashville record deal nearly a decade ago, after growing up in Texas on Dolly Parton and Whitney Houston and doing a bit of work in the LA entertainment industry, she approached the country music scene with tremendous respect. Cognizant of her newbie status, she showed how serious she was about becoming a part of that professional community by learning its culture and customs and taking its conventional wisdom to heart. Soon, she came to see what she was actually up against.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Facebook employees on Friday that the social network will review how it handles some of the most incendiary posts on its platform, including those by President Trump. His announcement follows a revolt by employees over his decision to do nothing about messages the president posted about violence toward protesters and mail-in voting.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has secured the delegates needed to win the Democratic Party's presidential nomination on the first ballot at the August convention, crossing the threshold of 1,991 delegates according to the Associated Press.

A judge at the U.S. military court in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has ruled that a prisoner there may be entitled to a more lenient sentence if he was tortured in CIA custody. The decision could potentially apply to several of the other 40 remaining prisoners there, including five men facing charges in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

As momentum from the Black Lives Matter movement continues to amplify around the world, activists in Belgium hope the winds of change will be enough to finally topple a controversial monarch off his multiple perches.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday the NFL admits that "we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest."

The statement, made in a video over Twitter, comes a day after nearly 20 players called on the NFL to take a stronger stance amid a nationwide protest of police brutality against black people.

Christians the world over have been united in their revulsion over the killing of George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer, and faith leaders from across the theological spectrum have spoken out about the lessons they think Christians should draw from the incident.

Many Protestant and Roman Catholic ministers have emphasized a Christian obligation to love one's neighbor and to work for justice in the earthly world.

75 years ago, in the summer of 1945, Ralph Waldo Ellison returned home from serving in the Merchant Marine during World War II and tried to rest on a farm in Vermont. But he was restless to write a novel. It would take him five years. That novel, Invisible Man, is enduring and imperishable.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

It had been a long, hot day of protests in Washington, D.C. As dusk descended on the nation's capital on June 3, a man in the crowd held up a microphone. The man, Maryland-based singer Kenny Sway, asked the protestors to kneel — and to turn on their cell phone flashlights.

"I asked them if we can light the city up tonight," Sway says.

The nationwide demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd's killing have been met at times with heavy-handed police tactics that include beatings, the use of tear gas and rubber bullets fired into crowds.

The bureaucratic red tape that normally prevents politicians from rapidly changing their cityscapes is falling away as protesters demanding racial justice insist that Confederate monuments be swept into the dustbin of history.

Zach Rodriguez, a 22-year-old Republican from Kenosha, Wisc., says he was disgusted when he watched video footage of George Floyd being killed by police.

"It was appalling," Rodriguez said, noting he was glad to see protesters in his hometown take to the streets.

"In the past, we saw a lot of 'Black Lives Matter' versus 'All Lives Matter.' In this case, I think it's really starting to hit home, especially in the Republican Party. Black lives do matter," he said.

Around the world, people have held vigils, organized protests and painted murals this week to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests taking place across America.

These events are also taking place in countries struggling with their own crises — conflict, poverty, the pandemic. America's loud call for justice after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many more black Americans has resonated.

A federal judge in Colorado issued a temporary restraining order Friday night banning the Denver Police Department from using chemical weapons or projectiles on peaceful protesters.

Judge R. Brooke Jackson's ruling bans officers from using such weapons unless an on scene supervisor "specifically authorizes such use of force in response to specific acts of violence." The ruling goes into effect immediately as protests in Denver over the killing of George Floyd continue.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

Manhattan's district attorney will not prosecute protesters arrested for breaking the city's curfew during the ongoing demonstrations against police brutality and the killing of George Floyd.

District Attorney Cyrus Vance made the announcement Friday, saying the previous policy allowed people to have the low-level offenses dismissed within six months.

George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner: black Americans killed by police. And now, a national moment of reckoning.

As protests against police brutality continue around the country, Americans are looking to educate themselves about systemic racism more than ever before. NPR curated a podcast playlist to amplify conversations from NPR about law enforcement, racial injustice, and the black American experience to help guide the process.

Why One Black Man Decided To March

17 hours ago

Hundreds of protesters streamed between New York City's skyscrapers, chanting and blocking traffic on Wednesday. A helicopter hovered overhead, while huge numbers of police in riot gear kept pace.

Billy Dume, who lives nearby in the East Village, told NPR he normally wouldn't be at this kind of demonstration.

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