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4 | EXPRESS | 05.10.2019 | WEEKEND

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A political flashpoint in D.C.

FAIRFAX COUNTY

Popular children’s singer faces child porn charges

THE DISTRICT The sun had just dipped below the horizon Wednesday evening when the lights flicked off inside the Venezuelan Embassy in D.C. Waves of cheers rolled up and down the Georgetown street that has become ground zero in an intensifying standoff between backers of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó and left-wing activists who support President Nicolás Maduro. With no electricity, activists who have been living inside the building are adjusting to the latest obstacle in their month-long occupation of the embassy. Getting food inside has been one of the biggest challenges for the past 10 days, with anti-Maduro protesters and Secret Service barricades blocking most of the doors. Then Thursday, activists announced they will be cutting back on their primary source of communication with the outside world: social media. With no power to charge their devices, there will be less tweeting and fewer video streams. Organizers with Code Pink, a left-wing organization, said the utility bills had been paid in full by the Maduro-led Venezuelan government. But Pepco, the building’s electricity provider, told activists the U.S.-backed opposition government had ordered the power be shut off, Code Pink co-founder

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ALEX WONG (GETTY IMAGES)

Venezuelan Embassy goes dark as standoff intensifies on streets

Supporters of opposition leader Juan Guaidó block an entrance earlier this month at the Embassy of Venezuela.

Medea Benjamin said. Members of Code Pink and other far-left groups have been inside the embassy since April 10 at the invitation of Maduro government officials. About two weeks into Code Pink’s residency, Venezuelan and VenezuelanAmerican protesters began to gather outside. They have not left since. “In response to this illegal occupation, members … of the Venezuelan community have gathered in the hundreds over the past couple of days to protest the illegal trespassing of these groups,” protester Dilianna Bustillos said. The embassy has become the site of a proxy power struggle that mirrors the international battle

“We are placeholders. We’re doing what another country will hopefully do, which is hold the space.” MEDEA BENJAMIN, co-founder of Code Pink, on occupying the Venezuelan embassy in D.C.

over the future of Venezuela. Ten protesters have been arrested over the past week, according to the Secret Service. Most have been charged with simple assault or throwing “missiles” — in many cases, a reference to food that activists have

been trying to launch past police barricades and the raised hands of pro-Guaidó demonstrators. Each side has also accused the other of violence. Pro-Guaidó protesters said they’re prepared to stay as long as Code Pink does. On Thursday, several celebrated the irony of a blackout at the Venezuelan Embassy — a circumstance that has become a common occurrence in the South American country. “They’re getting a little taste of what Venezuela has been experiencing,” demonstrator Daniela Bustillos said. “It’s a small victory for us. But we will not be satisfied until they leave once and for all.” MARISSA J. LANG (THE WASHINGTON POST)

NO HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE FOR HOGAN

The proportion of Maryland GOP voters who would support Gov. Larry Hogan in a primary fight against President Trump, according to a survey released Thursday by Gonzales Research & Media Services. Hogan, R, remains just as popular as Trump among Maryland Republicans, but that popularity does not translate to support for a primary campaign, the survey found. Hogan is “strongly considering” a 2020 primary bid, but has said he feels no urgency to decide about the race before the fall. (THE WASHINGTON POST)

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Police: Man killed Wednesday night in dispute in parking lot of Silver Spring mall

A popular children’s performer in Fairfax County has been arrested and Rossi charged with possessing child pornography. Police said Thursday Steven Rossi, 58, of Reston was arrested April 30 on 10 felony counts. Rossi performed under the name Mr. Knick Knack and has been a popular children’s entertainer in the region for more than a decade. Police are continuing their investigation but say they do not believe Rossi had any contact with children in the images. (AP) BALTIMORE

Ransomware attack forces city to go ‘manual’ Baltimore Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young says a ransomware virus that hit the city’s computer systems has forced operations to “revert back to manual.” The Baltimore Sun reports the extent of the ransomware attack was noticeable this week as some city systems remained offline and several departments reported email and phone issues. The 911 system hasn’t been affected. The FBI is investigating after authorities said Tuesday that hackers were demanding about $76,000 to unlock encrypted files in city computers. (AP) RICHMOND

Police officer indicted on sexual battery charge A Virginia police officer has been indicted on a charge of sexual battery. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports Officer Michael Bryson of the Richmond police force was indicted this week. The circumstances surrounding the charge and the allegations that prompted it are unclear. Bryson is currently on unpaid leave. He’s been with the department since 2008. It was unclear if he’s in custody or when he will appear in court. (AP)

Three killed, two injured early Thursday in rowhouse fire in Edgewood, Md.

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