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British Voters Weigh in on Historic Referendum; U.S. Democrats Hold Sit-in to Demand Gun Control Vote; Trump Heads to Scotland to Open Golf Resort; Secret Recordings Trap Politicians; Protests in Paris against Unpopular Labor Law; German Shooter Wounds at Least 25. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired June 23, 2016 - 10:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST (voice-over): Ahead at the INTERNATIONAL DESK: in or out. Voters in the U.K. head to the polls.
Democratic members of Congress stage a sit-in over U.S. gun laws.
And Donald Trump heads off to Scotland.
CURNOW: Hi, everyone. Welcome. I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center.
We begin with a historic and controversial vote.
Should Britain remain part of the European Union or go it alone?
Polls are now open. More than 46 million people in the United Kingdom are eligible to vote and most of them are in England. CNN's Nima Elbagir
is at a polling station in North London. She joins us now live.
Hi, there, Nima. It's been pouring with rain.
How has that impacted turnout, do we know?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far we have seen some measure of voters coming in and out. But given that there was a record
number of them registered to vote, the fear is that the weather, which has been particularly inauspicious on this historic day, that the weather will
impact whether that historic number of registered voters actually results in a historic turnout.
Down in South London, where I actually had to travel up from, it's been extraordinarily difficult just to move around even within
neighborhoods. Roads closed, two polling stations already shuttered and a real, real disruption to the transport links.
Further, elsewhere in the country, we've had reports of people having to be carried in to polling stations. But that gives you a sense of how
committed people are to being heard.
This has been a particularly emotive and divisive campaigning period and a lot of people not only want to just get the other side of this but
they want to make sure that when all this is done, that everybody feels that they really did have their say on this historic issue -- Robyn.
CURNOW: You talk about it being such an emotive vote and that's because it's not just about whether Britain votes in or out.
There are broader identity issues at stake here, aren't there?
ELBAGIR: Absolutely. This is about not just how Britain sees itself within the European Union but how Britain sees itself in the world. It's -
- so much has been said about what is modern Britain and this is, in essence, a referendum on how Britain will present itself on that global
This is the vote of a generation. And speaking to people in the run- up to this vote, we know that, even within families, people are divided on this issue. People are divided across their own dining tables on this
But in a sense that's really why, with so much buildup to today, people are now starting to feel like it's here; let's get on with it and
let's get the other side of it and see what Britain we wake up to tomorrow morning -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Yes, excellent point there. Nima, thanks so much.
Stay tuned to CNN all day for special coverage of this very important referendum. We'll have key interviews and the very latest on the results
from Christiane Amanpour and the rest of our London-based team. We also have correspondents reporting on reaction from across Europe and beyond
plus extensive coverage online at cnn.com/ukreferendum.
Now to a protest in the U.S. Congress over gun violence. A sit-in by House Democrats is approaching the 24-hour mark, even though the session is
now in recess.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): You're looking at live pictures of the House of Representatives right now. Members of Congress are using Periscope and
Facebook to live broadcast these pictures because Republicans turned off the TV cameras of the House floor.
Democrats are demanding a vote on legislation to keep suspects on the no-fly list from buying guns. Many Republicans see that as an attack on
Americans' rights to bear arms. Sunlen Serfaty has more.
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GA.: I would ask that all of my colleagues join me on the floor.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It all started around 11:15 Wednesday morning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will occupy this floor. We will no longer be denied a right to vote.
SERFATY (voice-over): Outraged Democrats seizing the House floor, demanding a vote on gun control after the worst mass shooting in U.S.
LEWIS: How many more mothers, how many more fathers need to shed tears of grief before we do something?
SERFATY (voice-over): Prominent civil rights activist John Lewis leading the sit-in on the House floor.
Minutes later, House Speaker Paul Ryan called a recess, shutting off cameras in the chamber. But that didn't stop Democrats from continuing
their showdown, streaming live feeds of the House floor on social media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Suspected and known to be a terrorist, why, why can you get a gun, a machine gun?
SERFATY (voice-over): Democratic senators storming the floor in solidarity.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: This is nothing more than a publicity stunt.
SERFATY (voice-over): Speaker Ryan lambasting the move as political theater.
RYAN: We will not bring a bill that takes away a person's constitutionally guaranteed rights without their due process. This isn't
trying to come up with a solution to a problem. This is trying to get attention.
SERFATY (voice-over): In a confrontational move to regain control, Republicans convening a session to vote not on gun control but to override
a presidential veto, leading to tension, exploding in the chamber just after 10 o'clock.
RYAN: Want permission for the gentleman from Kentucky, Mr. Ryder (ph), seek recognition.
SERFATY (voice-over): As Republicans opened the floor to vote, the Democrats pressing against the podium, chanting and holding signs with
names and faces of gun violence victims.
SERFATY (voice-over): Democrats yelling, "Shame," and singing the anthem of the civil rights movement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The House stands in recess subject to the call of the chair.
SERFATY (voice-over): One Republican disrupting the sit-in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Radical Islam --
SERFATY (voice-over): Arguing it wasn't guns that led to the Orlando attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And providing for considerations of (INAUDIBLE).
SERFATY (voice-over): Just before 1:00 am, the House calling a procedural vote to adjourn until 2:30 am, scheduling a vote on a funding
bill for Zika virus that Democrats oppose.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have no response except to run away in the middle of the night?
SERFATY (voice-over): After passing that bill, they passed another to adjourn for the July 4th recess.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The House stands adjourned.
SERFATY (voice-over): Republicans leaving the Capitol indignant, met by angry protesters.
CURNOW: Some amazing scenes in D.C. there.
Well, the Senate blocked similar gun measures on Monday. CNN political commentators Ben Ferguson and Marc Lamont Hill gave us differing
views on this battle when they talked to Chris Cuomo just a few hours ago. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's an extraordinary tactic and a wonderful effort. Obviously the bills were shot
down in the Senate but you have to go a step further.
People in the House don't have the luxury of a filibuster. This is their kind of dramatic gesture that we often see in the Congress, just
coming from the House side
There's a long history of this in civil rights activism. This won't get a bill passed or a bill changed but what it will do is draw public
attention to the issue. It'll create a spectacle, which then can lead to a different kind of conversation and hopefully a different outcome.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: There's an odd disconnect Ben, when we talk about guns. I can show you 1,000 polls right now that have numbers from
50s to the 90s of people saying they want change.
But there is no will to do it on the Republican side of the aisle and, frankly, Democrats have had their shots and not taken them as well.
What's the disconnect?
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the disconnect is that you have a lot of people that say in general that they want things to
get better and they want there to be some sort of reform of gun control.
But then you have Democrats that are coming out and pushing extreme measures that will not curb the gun violence.
If you look at specifically what started this sit-in, as they call it, this is a bill they're pushing, implying that somehow it would have stopped
Orlando. It would have not stopped Orlando.
The second thing that really bothers me about this is the fact that you have Democrats that are somehow equating this to the civil rights
movement. The civil rights movement was about fighting for your rights. This law would take away people's rights.
And what it does is it says, basically, you don't have the right to go and buy a gun if we put you on a secret list. We will not notify you if
you're put on that secret list and if you're on that secret list inappropriately or by accident, then you've go to go get a lawyer, pay it
out of your own pocket, which would certainly disproportionately hurt minorities and those that are poor, and you've got to fight the United
States government to get off that list.
Now that is not freedom and for people that are claiming this is somehow about civil rights, look at the difference. When they had sit-ins,
they were fighting for civil rights, fighting for their rights, fighting for freedom. This is taking away freedom and rights and they're doing it
in the name of gun control, which is not anything to stop terrorists.
HILL: Ben, just a historical correction, this is exactly what happened in the '60s and the argument you're making that's different is
exactly the argument that people who opposed civil rights made in the 1960s. People who sat in in '64 --
FERGUSON: Not true.
HILL: Let me give you historical facts so that we don't have to dispute it. I can just tell you.
In 1964, people disputed public accommodations. People said, we're fighting for the right to be able to sit at a lunch counter.
Other people said, no, you're fighting to take away my right to say who can sit at my lunch counter, you're taking away my freedom to decide
who comes into my restaurant.
So there are often moments where one person saying my rights are being taken away while the others are saying that my rights are being given. But
the key here is that --
HILL: -- let me just finish the point, as I allowed you to finish.
But the key here is that we want people to be able to have the right to walk down the street and not be killed, we want people who are on terror
HILL: -- watch lists not to have access to guns, we want very simple legislation. I'm not against guns; I'm against people having ridiculous
levels of access when they clearly are a threat to society.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Such an important conversation, isn't it. You've just heard from CNN political commentators Marc Lamont Hill and Ben Ferguson.
You're watching CNN. Forget high-level meetings with officials. Donald Trump is headed to Scotland to tend to business. But the
billionaire may not be getting a warm welcome. That's for sure.
A North Korean propaganda film backfires in a big way. We'll tell you the huge mistake North Korean minders made that allowed the embarrassing
film to go public. Stay with us.
CURNOW: Donald Trump is heading to Scotland but not to campaign. He's there to open his newest golf course.
The Trump campaign is spinning the trip as a chance to show off the candidate's vast business empire and ability to create jobs. But in the
past, there have been major protests and legal battles over Trump developments in Scotland.
CNN Politics reporter MJ Lee joins us now live from New York with the details.
Hey there, MJ. This is the first foreign trip for Mr. Trump since he became the presumptive nominee. And again, it symbolizes the
unconventional nature of his campaign.
MJ LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right. I mean this is a very unconventional trip for the presumptive nominee to be taking at this
moment in the presidential campaign.
It really does, as you said, underscore how unconventional his candidacy is and how unconventional his campaign is. And to be perfectly
clear, this is not a political trip. This is not a trip actually related to Trump's presidential campaign. It is more of a business trip.
He is there primarily to promote the opening of a golf course in Scotland. This means that he doesn't have meetings with foreign leaders
planned and this is not a trip that will really highlight his foreign policy credentials or diplomatic credentials, which is something that a lot
of other presidential candidates in the past have done as they prepared to run in the general election.
Now I have to point out that the timing of this trip is quite curious as well. As you know very well, Donald Trump only really clinched the GOP
nomination a couple of weeks ago and, since then, his campaign has had a pretty rough time from internal turmoil within his campaign, which, as you
know, led to the firing of Trump's campaign manager just this week to, you know, having trouble raising money.
Big donors in the Republican Party are very concerned about this and also Donald Trump, of course, has gotten himself into some trouble, using
inflammatory rhetoric, whether it has to do with criticizing a U.S. judge's Mexican heritage or continuing to talk about this --
LEE: -- Muslim ban. So all of these issues have Trump in a pretty tricky place. And he's choosing this time, nevertheless, to take what's
more of a personal and a business trip rather than focusing all of his resources and his efforts into righting the ship of his campaign.
So all of this, I think, has the party looking at him and his campaign with some degree of trepidation -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Yes, indeed. And I want us also to look at some images, MJ.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): These are Scotsmen who have raised the Mexican flag on their properties which overlook the Trump golf course that he is
unveiling today. Now there's a reason for all this. These men say Mr. Trump and his company have bullied and harassed them and that they've had
some experience of the way he does business, which they don't like.
LEE: That's right. What this trip is doing is, you know, shining an unflattering light on some of Trump's business practices abroad with this
golf course; some of the local residents are very angry at Trump and his company for practices that they say, you know, amounted to threats and
Some local residents saying that in order for Trump's company to build this golf course, they used, you know, just sort of threatening methods to
make sure that people left their homes even when they didn't want to.
Some of the tactics that have been reported on so far include building trees around a person's personal home to make sure that they no longer had
the view that they had in their house so that would be an incentive for them to leave their homes.
And I think it's worth pointing out that this is certainly not the first time that Trump's business and his organization have come under this
kind of scrutiny. Obviously Trump University is one example.
And remember that when Donald Trump first launched his campaign, a big department store like Macy's decided that they could no longer carry
Trump's products because of his inflammatory rhetoric about immigrants and Mexicans.
So this is something that I think will continue to play out because the reality is Donald Trump is a businessman, first and foremost, and he's,
frankly, running his campaign in that way.
CURNOW: Yes. And more details on what you've been describing are in a great piece on cnn.com by Jeremy Diamond, where he says this trip is a
potent remind of the ruthless and eccentric tactics that catapulted Trump to the heights that we know now.
So I think this is one aspect to the Trump story. Also, though, we talk about not being welcomed with opened arms and a Mexican flag in
Scotland. But across Britain, he's not popular, either. There was in fact a petition of hundreds of thousands of signatures that said that they
didn't want him in the country.
So you know, this is a man who's walked into a firestorm there.
LEE: Yes. Exactly. And I think it really underscores how Donald Trump sort of functions as his own spokesperson and the only person whose
advice he listens to. I think if he were to have a group of advisors, you know, telling him, look, this is probably not a good idea to take this trip
right now, you know, most presidential nominees and candidates would probably listen to that advice.
With Donald Trump, we have, you know, seen over and over again throughout this cycle that that is not his style, even when his campaign is
under fire when he has made a decision to do something and he believes that that's the right thing to do he's going to go ahead and do it.
So I think that's sort of how this trip came about, even with so many weeks of, you know, backlash and criticism that he has faced. He's decided
that this is a trip that he wants to do for the purpose of promoting his business.
CURNOW: MJ Lee in New York, thanks so much.
Well, now to the political drama in Brazil. You might expect to see this kind of thing on TV. But it's actually happening at the highest
levels of the government, where backstabbing and secret recordings have become the norm. Nick Paton Walsh joins us from Rio to explain -- Nick.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Robyn, startling really that this political crisis, frankly, I think part of a pattern
there, many fear, of corruption that seems to have pervaded so much of Brazil's political class, it will itself come to a head really in the
impeachment vote against now-suspended president, Dilma Rousseff, which will happen during, many think, the games themselves.
All parts of a political elite that do, to some intents and purposes, appear to be devouring themselves.
WALSH (voice-over): As Brazil's house of cards crumbles, listen carefully. The people are listening aghast to their leaders, devouring
each other with sleaze allegations.
The world listening, too, wondering, can this tiny clique really run an Olympic Games?
But above all, it's Brazil's elite who are listening in on each other, secretly recording sometimes friends and allies discussing alleged dirty
dealings in a bid to get the upper hand.
WALSH (voice-over): This is who it began with, the former senator, Delcidio do Amaral, was the country's former kingmaker but he was first to
fall because of a secret taping in a fancy hotel, allegedly arranging for someone's silence over corruption.
DELCIDIO DO AMARAL, FORMER BRAZILIAN SENATOR (through translator): This is my favorite place.
WALSH (voice-over): This is his brother's bar and that's Eric Clapton's old guitar behind him.
AMARAL (through translator): The taping was a conversation with someone I'd known since childhood, a family friend. When I found out that
I'd been taped, it was a big shock for me.
WALSH (voice-over): He took a plea deal to tell all for his freedom and he says the house, including then-president Rousseff, came down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You knew everything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you still do.
AMARAL (through translator): Of course you're right. I could have come forward earlier. I knew and I know a lot. My collaboration, if not
the most important factor, was close to that in the process of ousting President Dilma. After it, the government lost control of the situation.
WALSH (voice-over): Indeed, they did. But then education minister, secretly recorded discussing alleged payments for silence; the planning
minister, secretly recorded allegedly plotting to impede an investigation. He resigned.
An advisor to former President Lula secretly recorded calling Amaral part of male genitalia. Words stop.
WALSH: You yourself have been called a traitor and there's been some very foul language used about you in some of these recordings.
But have you yourself been shocked by the kind and the scale of the treachery in Brazil's elite?
AMARAL (through translator): This Delcidio is the most dangerous in the world, they say, because I knew too much. I'm not the person they're
portraying. I really explained who was who and who did what, so that's why they swear and they use the filthy language about me. This Delcidio is a
son of a.
WALSH (voice-over): Brazil's elite, sliding down the pole of public opinion together.
AMARAL (through translator): In Brazil we have an expression, "The stick that beats Chico also beats Francisco."
It means, if the conversation in which I was taped led me to prison and the loss of my political term, what about the others?
WALSH (voice-over): Saints, sinners, kingmakers, all live on. Even halos here are made of gold.
AMARAL (through translator): Politics is the only art in life in which you can resurrect more than once. You die, you're resurrected. You
die, you're resurrected.
WALSH: Now, Robyn, even this morning, local media is reporting federal police saying there have been some high-profile arrests of
politicians, former politicians to some degree, in relation to ongoing corruption investigations.
And that just adds to that general feeling of political elite in extreme turmoil, running out of money, frankly, in the state of Rio here,
where they declared on Friday a financial calamity, a state of emergency, asking for federal bailout.
Well, they got it, nearly $1 billion. But still concerns of what that may mean for hospitals, security, the things that Olympic athletes and
tourists here are going to be relying upon. And it is just that general sense, I think, of collapse and turmoil, how the dirt has come to the
surface in the past months and has many concerned about the months ahead -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Yes, indeed. Thanks so much. Nick Paton Walsh, there in Rio, appreciate it.
Well now to a historic cease-fire. Colombia is expected to sign a peace agreement with leftist FARC rebels in Havana. It would end the
longest-running insurgency in the Western Hemisphere in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed or displaced.
The presidents of Cuba, Venezuela and Chile will attend the signing along with the U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. A final peace deal
with the guerilla movement could come next month.
An important update now on two missile launches yesterday in North Korea. South Korea says the North has significantly improved its missile
technology after a series of tests this year. Wednesday's first test- firing ended in a failure but the second one allegedly landed accurately in water about 400 kilometers away.
Meantime, North Korea is suffering a new setback with its propaganda efforts. A documentary intended to positively promote the country has
turned into a behind-the-scenes look at how North Korea manipulates appearances. CNN's Brian Todd has the story.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Kim Jong-un's regime, it seemed the ideal film project. It's called, "Under the Sun," a profile
of an 8-year-old girl named Zin Mi as she prepared to join the Korean Children's Union.
The North Koreans commissioned Russian filmmaker Vitaly Mansky for the project, which they hoped would depict a worker's paradise.
But tonight, fallout: the project backfired.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Everybody stand up and loudly say, "Congratulations."
Can you say that?
I won't say it again.
TODD (voice-over): A North Korean minder is filmed, angrily coaching workers how to act during a scene filmed at a clothing factory.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Why was your applause so weak?
TODD (voice-over): The minders seemingly thought they weren't being recorded. But the director kept his camera rolling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Zin Mi is sitting with straight legs.
Why are you sitting so funny?
Like that, sit like that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): They would come to the scene and would tell the people what they have to do, where they have to sit, how
they have to sit, how they have to smile.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Try to say more. Let's do it. Don't forget to smile.
Smile. Everyone smile while your comrade is speaking.
TODD (voice-over): And Zin Mi 's mother and others at a milk factory appear to do just that.
At a dance class, Zin Mi is driven to exhaustion and tears.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): More, Zin Mi.
Do you understand, Comrade Zin Mi?
Do you understand or not?
So what should we do, Zin Mi, if you can't even learn these steps?
TODD (voice-over): In scene after scene, minders are shown, prodding, scolding film subjects to be more zealous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When the teacher speaks, repeat after her.
Yes. Recover soon. And stop eating.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Still too gloomy. Do it with more joy. You can do it more joyfully.
TODD (voice-over): The producer says there was constant argument between the director, Mansky, and his minders. The North Koreans
eventually scuttled the project, kicked the director out of the country. But the North Korean government made one mistake: they didn't keep full
control of his footage.
ROBERT BOYNTON, AUTHOR: I think the biggest fallout would be probably for certainly the people who negotiated and allowed Mansky to enter the
country and, secondly, to the minders, who guided his crew, they might be in trouble.
TODD (voice-over): At the end, Zin Mi is asked what it means to join the Children's Union.
RI ZIN MI, CHILDREN'S UNION CANDIDATE (through translator): Now you feel responsible for your mistakes. And you wonder what else you should do
for the respected leader.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Stop her crying.
TODD: We tried to get North Korean officials at the U.N. to respond to this documentary. We never heard back from them.
But Zin Mi 's mother has expressed her outrage in a North Korean government-run website, saying, quote, "Is Mansky a human being? We
thought he was making a documentary for the purpose of a friendly cultural exchange. I had no idea that he would make my daughter the main character
of his anti-North Korea movie" -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
CURNOW: Fascinating insight there.
Well, still ahead, as the battle for Fallujah rages on, tens of thousands of civilians overwhelmed desert camps, waiting for it all to end.
CURNOW (voice-over): Welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. Here's a check of your headlines.
CURNOW: Fighting appears to be far from over in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, even though the government said it was liberated from ISIS days
ago. The battle has forced civilians to leave in droves. Our Ben Wedeman shows us where they are now waiting to get on with their lives.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Syrian hot, dusty winds blow through the camp, now home to thousands of those who
Conditions here are dire. Dozens cram together for a bit of shade. A sudden influx of tens of thousands fleeing the city has overwhelmed the
camp, set up by the Iraqi government. More than 80,000 have come and more are expected. Supplies of water and food are running low. Many are
sleeping outside on the desert floor.
"We hope to go home as soon as possible," says this man.
"This is a bad place. Tomorrow there will be sandstorms. All the children will become ill."
It may be a while before he can return home. Street by street, fighting still rages inside Fallujah. And while ISIS may have been driven
from many areas, the bombs remain.
"All of these houses are booby-trapped," says Sergeant Yousef (ph).
"They don't leave any house without first rigging it with explosives."
On the edges of the city, we met Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, head of Iraq's counterterrorism services. He's directing the battle and even he qualifies
claims the city has been liberated from ISIS.
"If some officials said that Fallujah has been liberated," he says, "they meant we've reached the city center in the government complex. The
battle of Fallujah has been clinched but there are still some pockets of resistance."
Through the rubble-strewn roads of Fallujah, we went to one of the city's main hospitals. The heavy gunfire nearby, yet another reminder, if
one was needed, that the battle isn't over yet.
WEDEMAN: This is the entrance to Fallujah's teaching hospital. Incidentally, it was also the command and control center for ISIS. Now
we've come in here, the soldiers say that they've cleared this particular area of IEDs. They said there were 10 in here; however, if you just go
down the hall, it's no longer safe.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): And it will be some time before Fallujah is safe and even longer before its residents can move back to the ruins that
was their city -- Ben Wedeman, CNN, Fallujah.
CURNOW: As many as 200,000 people are expected at a protest in Paris. The demonstration is against a highly unpopular labor law. CNN's Will
Ripley joins us live from there.
Hi, there, Will.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Robyn; 200,000 was the estimate of the organizers of the protest, who tend to often overestimate how many
people will turn out. And that was certainly the case today because things have wrapped up at the Bastille, where the main protest event was
And if you were to eyeball it, I would say the number was in the thousands but certainly not exceeding, certainly not into the tens of
Things wrapped up pretty quickly over there. This is much different than the situation here in Paris two weeks ago, when these labor protests
resulted in hundreds of people accused of throwing chunks of pavement at cars, setting cars on fire, damaging a children's hospital.
We didn't see any of that today. But what we did see was a very strong police perimeter and at least 95 people arrested, ahead of the
demonstration, for carrying objects that could be used as projectiles.
Now we've moved away from the Bastille here to the Plaza de la Republique because we heard that there was an illegal demonstration
assembling here. But you can see as we --
RIPLEY: -- pan the camera over, the police quickly moved in to this area about a kilometer away from where we were at the protest site earlier.
Look at all of those police vans. And the distance there, the traffic is blocking it but there's also a water cannon on standby as well. So
clearly the police here in Paris are trying to proactively prevent violence, prevent problems.
And of course they're dealing not only with these labor protests, Robyn, but also with Euro 2016, one of Europe's largest football
tournaments that's ongoing and the ongoing threat of terrorism, including an attack that actually targeted an off-duty police officer recently. So
certainly the police have a lot on their plates here.
CURNOW: So give us some details on why they're protesting.
What is it about these labor laws that has created such emotion?
RIPLEY: Well, it's interesting; as the U.K. referendum is ongoing today and a country where, over the last 30 years or so, it has been much
easier for businesses to hire and fire employees it's pretty much become a place that is perceived, London in particular, as a city that's open for
But it's a very different situation here in France, where there is a national 35-hour work week. There is a generous and often nonnegotiable
vacation requirement. And once businesses hire people on full-time employment, even if they're a small or midsize business, it's exceptionally
difficult for those employees to be fired and, as a result, the French government says, the unemployment rate has now topped 10 percent compared
to about half that over in the U.K.
So you really have two competing visions, France and Britain, about what the future of European business should look like.
But of course, this is a country with some of the most militant and powerful labor unions in the E.U., certainly willing to demonstrate very
often. And if you know France, you know that labor protests and demonstrations are a part of life here.
There's actually been travel disruptions because of an air traffic control strike just today and Ryanair and easyJet put out statements saying
that they have had to cope with 51 strikes in the last seven years, and that's just those two particular airlines.
And so the government trying to change the work culture to modernize labor laws and a lot of pushback. And while the vast majority of
protesters have been peaceful, there have also been some violent outbursts two weeks ago and also earlier this year in March, where there were massive
protests, almost half a million people out, saying they want to defend workers' rights.
CURNOW: And security forces have been quite jittery, the context of terrorism and the football. And there was some criticism at the way they
reacted to protests earlier this week in terms of dealing with rowdy football fans.
Any response today?
RIPLEY: Well, the response today, again, we've really seen a remarkable shift in the approach that French police are taking. And up
until yesterday, it wasn't clear whether this protest would even be allowed to take place because the authorities said they were simply overstretched.
But what the police have done -- and you see, these are officers on the corner here, in their full riot gear, heavily armed, standing around
and appearing very relaxed and casual at the moment. But it's the sheer number of officers that are out here, to trying to prevent situations from
People being arrested for carrying objects that could be used as projectiles, not arrested after they take those objects out of their bags,
start hurling them at police. The police then responding in previous instances with tear gas, with water cannons. We haven't seen that today.
And, in addition, they also really tried to keep the protest area limited to just the Bastille and a 1.5-kilometer route. And they sealed
off the area, blocking entrances in and out and trying to check everybody.
It seems as if so far it's worked. But reports said there could be smaller protests popping up around the city, some people trying to disturb
in any way that they can. We'll see what happens -- Robyn.
CURNOW: OK, Will Ripley, thanks so much, there in Paris.
Now we do get some in -- we have been getting some information of an active shooting in Germany. We're unclear just how many people are wounded
there in West Germany or killed. We're going to continue our coverage with my colleague, Wolf Blitzer.
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CURNOW: OK. We really want to bring you up to date on this information that we're getting here at CNN.
German state TV, German media is reporting a gunman has wounded at least 25 people at a cinema complex in Western Germany. It appears to be
an ongoing situation right now in Viernheim in Germany.
We know from Reuters, Reuters is reporting a masked man with a gun and ammunition belt opened fire in a cinema complex in a small western town of
Viernheim near Frankfurt. This is near Frankfurt.
Again, Reuters reporting and German media reporting that between 20 and 50 people have been injured. This is an ongoing situation. Also
Reuters reporting -- and they're quoting German media -- that the man has barricaded himself inside this cinema complex.
OK. To report, to just reiterate, at least 25 people wounded at a cinema complex in Western Germany, according to German media. And it is an
ongoing situation, according to local reports.
Now we know that there has been an extremely high level of concerns about terrorism in Germany. We know that the British government had warned
about indiscriminate attacks. They've also been high alert by security forces there in Germany.
We know on New Year's Eve that, in Hanover, that there was train stations evacuated because of what was feared to be an immediate attack.
We also know after the French terror attacks that a Germany versus Holland game, football game was canceled over a concrete threat; that was
in Hanover. There was intelligence that explosives would be detonated at a football stadium.
We also know that there were massive arrests in February. This year, police found out across the country there were raids, arrests, also links
to terror concerns.
There was a knife attack recently in Bavaria, if you remember. A passenger was killed, some injured, at a train station.
All of these make people very, very, very concerned about this situation that is ongoing, we understand from German media, of a terror --
possible terror attack or at least some sort of violent standoff being -- taking place right now in Western Germany. Our Atika Shubert is on the
There is not a lot of information, Atika. Have you been able to ascertain anything else?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Now, we're trying all of our contacts and sources here but police are letting out very
few details because it is an ongoing situation.
What we know at this moment, being reported by the local public broadcaster, is that a shooter entered a cinema in Viernheim, apparently
heavily armed. Now we understand from the local media report here, from ARD, that at least 25 have been wounded.
Now we don't know anything more than that at this point. We don't know if hostages have been taken; we don't know what's happened to the
shooter himself. We're still trying to confirm information from police. But this happened shortly after 3:00 pm. So this is apparently still an
ongoing situation -- Robyn.
CURNOW: And German media reporting 25 people possibly injured and Reuters is reporting with a little bit more detail, Atika, that a masked
man with a gun and ammunition belt has opened fire.
SHUBERT: That's what we understand. We're still trying to confirm the details from police, who are, at this point, not releasing many details
because it is ongoing.
But this kind of a situation is very unusual in Germany. It's very shocking to see. This is an area that's quite close to Frankfurt on the
west side of the country. Police there are still in operation in the area. I've seen reports of heavily armed police heading to the cinema. So it is
ongoing. It's still very fluid --
-- at the moment -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Still very fluid at the moment and you say this is very unusual in Germany, not least because gun legislation in Germany is
incredibly tight. It's very difficult to get hold of a gun in Germany.
So the fact that what we have here appears to be an armed shooter in itself is concerning, which leads people to question if this is some sort
of ongoing terror threat, terror attack.
SHUBERT: I think this is going to be in the minds of many people. Germany has prepared itself for the possibility it is a target of terror.
But it hasn't seen the kinds of attacks we've seen in Paris and Brussels -- not yet, anyway.
So the question will be, who is the shooter, what kind of weapons does he have?
You point out the gun laws here are very strict. Having said that, we also know that a number of the weapons used in the Paris terror attacks
came through Germany, were actually smuggled through here.
So it's not quite as tight as perhaps authorities would like it to be. There are ways of getting weapons and, clearly, somebody was able to get
some fairly heavy weapons and bring them in to a local cinema.
Now we're still trying to get the details of exactly what happened. But this is very concerning that a heavily armed man, apparently masked,
went into a movie theater and shot, at least into the cinema. We know 25 were wounded. We know that from local public TV.
We don't know exactly how they were wounded, however. We're still waiting for more details from police.
CURNOW: And I was just giving a list of some real concerns, terror concerns that Germany has dealt with at least in the last year. And we
know at least the U.K. foreign office has warned that attacks in public places could happen and could be indiscriminate.
SHUBERT: Absolutely. There are two concerns here. One is the concern that you could have German nationals, who have traveled into places
like Syria to join groups like ISIS, having returned, been slipped through borders and now living in Germany.
The other possibility -- and this has been a larger concern -- is that with the groups, the thousands of refugees that came in last year, we may
have seen some coming over from groups like ISIS, hidden among the groups of refugees.
So there were many concerns that there could be -- that Germany could be a possible terror attack target and especially with these groups of
people moving to the country.
CURNOW: And we know of a number of incidents where intelligence pointed to concrete threat of a terror attack and that was not least that
football game that Angela Merkel was supposed to attend that was canceled at the end of last year.
SHUBERT: There was that and there was actually a more recent threat. And this was a tip-off coming from French police, that in a number of their
anti-terror raids, they found that there was allegedly a cell that crossed borders between the Netherlands and Germany and that they had been planning
to attack areas like Hanover here, and like Dusseldorf.
And so that cell appeared to have been disrupted. But we don't know the full extent of it. We don't know if, for example, the shooter at this
point is actually involved in some sort of a terror plan.
We're still waiting for details from police. We don't know who the shooter is, what kind of weapons he has. But clearly the fact that this
could be a terror attack is definitely crossing people's minds here in Germany.
CURNOW: Atika Shubert, stand by. I want to go to our senior law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes. He's on the line.
We don't have a lot of information. Tom. But at first glance from your experience in law enforcement, what is concerning for you about this
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think all of the above issues that we've heard about. This could be, you know, a German national
who's on the extreme right wing and unhappy with Germany's liberal refugee policies.
This could be a refugee that was able to get into the country and is affiliated with an extremist group like ISIS.
It could be just a mentally disturbed person who somehow got a hold of a gun and is carrying this act out, like we see many time sin the United
States. We see all of the above in the United States. But we've seen all of the above overseas as well and in Europe.
So I think it will be a little while before we know who's behind this shooting, what his affiliation might be, if he has problems, if he's known
to law enforcement or intelligence agencies. And we'll find out what the motivation or possible motivation is for this attack.
CURNOW: And, Tom, we're getting some information of the location where this incident is playing out. The Kinopolis cinema is part of a
major shopping center area in the town of Viernheim. It's called the Rhein Neckar Zentrum or the RNZ for short. It's home to more than 100
businesses, including the cinema.
And we also know it's located just off a major motorway. It's also a public transport hub for commuters. The shopping center hosts, we --
CURNOW: -- understand, more than 20,000 visitors daily.
Now that's all according to its website.
If there is a hostage situation ongoing now -- we know elite police are on the way to the scene -- what would be playing out?
What is their main priority at this moment?
FUENTES: The main priority is figuring out what they're up against.
What kind of a situation, do they have hostages, do they have a barricaded subject without hostages, are they able to figure that out?
Do they have multiple subjects? Is this part of a coordinated plan?
So there's a number of issues. But first and foremost is to isolate the scene and try to get as much information about what they're up against
as they possibly can, as quickly as they can.
CURNOW: We're getting from Reuters, a masked man with a gun and an ammunition belt opening fire in the cinema complex and that between 20 to
50 people have been hurt. And the gunman has barricaded himself in with them -- this is according to German media.
If we're looking at between 20 to 50 people injured here, this must be a pretty powerful gun or there's going to be a lot of ammunition?
FUENTES: OK. Well, we'll find out more if all of that is true or not pretty quickly.
And in terms of Germany and U.S. security concerns about a terror threat, possible terror threat in Europe, Germany has been on alert; there
have been concerns that some sort of incident could play out there.
FUENTES: Well, that's why I've said that it could be any of the above issues. So it's not easy right this minute to isolate -- and I'm sorry,
I'll have to let you go. I have another important call coming in. So I apologize.
CURNOW: Tom Fuentes, thank you so much.
And my colleague, Fred Pleitgen, is speaking to one of our journalists here at CNN. I just want to listen in to that interview. Take a listen.
(DOMESTIC BREAKING NEWS)
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: -- forces on the scene there, moving in additional special forces with helicopters to
try to come to terms with that situation there. But certainly something causing a lot of stir, obviously, in Germany right now -- Carol.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN HOST: This is -- is this unusual in Germany, Fred?
PLEITGEN: Yes. Yes. It's absolutely unusual. It's absolutely unusual to have, first of all, shooting incidents in Germany. Very few
happen. There have been some high-profile shootings in the past; most of them were people who were disgruntled at work; there were some school
shootings as well.
But over the past couple of years, the Germans have become very, very restrictive with their gun laws. And so you haven't seen very much of it.
But at the same time, of course, there is an increased security posture right now all across Europe and in Germany as well after we've seen
the Paris attacks, after we've seen the Brussels attacks.
It is, of course, a big fear of the authorities that some sort of major shooting incident or major attack could happen in Germany, especially
in light of the fact that, of course, you've had those big refugee movements into that area, that you have had people who were staying in
Germany, who were, for instance, part of the Paris attacks.
So certainly the authorities are very well aware that there is an increased security situation. But again, at this point in time, they don't
know what this is. This is certainly something that is not common at all in Germany. Gun crime generally is something that's not very common; at
this point the time totally unclear what's behind all this -- Carol.
COSTELLO: All right. I want to go to Atika Shubert now. She's actually in Berlin.
What more can you tell us about this shooting, Atika?
Atika, can you hear me?
SHUBERT: Yes, I do hear you.
What we know at this point from police is simply that it's an ongoing situation, from local broadcasters; we understand from ARD, the official
broadcaster, that 25 people were injured.
Now what we know is that a masked man apparently entered the cinema -- it's a ways outside of Frankfurt -- stepped in and began shooting into the
cinema. People ran outside. We still don't know if the shooter, what has happened to the shooter, and what kind of weapons he used.
This will determine a lot about where the investigation goes and what is happening next. But the area, as you can imagine is heavily sealed off
by police and a number of armored vehicles and heavily armed police are also surrounding the cinema complex.
COSTELLO: Atika, is this a tiny town?
Can you tell us something about the town?
SHUBERT: It's not a very big place. I mean, Frankfurt is the biggest main city. This would be kind of like an satellite suburb, where people
might commute into Frankfurt. So Kinopolis is sort of your average cinema complex where you might go in to catch a movie on a Saturday night.
Probably not as many people in on a hot afternoon like this there. But it would have had a number of people and it's sort of a shopping mall
kind of center. So this is somebody who was clearly targeting a civilian area, where sort of a residential --
SHUBERT: -- civilian area, very concerning. We don't know if it is a terror attack or a criminal attack at this point. Police aren't giving any
COSTELLO: And talk about the mood in Germany.
Were people afraid that this might happen, in light of what's happened in France?
SHUBERT: Absolutely. People here have been very concerned that Germany is a terror target and, in fact, police and officials here have
repeatedly warned that Germany is very much a target by groups like ISIS.
And there was special concern when, with the refugee loads that were coming into the country, remember, last year, more than a million people
came in, that among those people coming in could be ISIS operatives using fake passports.
And we know, in fact, that they did enter because some of them actually participated in the Paris attacks and they came and traveled to
So the concern has always been that there could be cells here operating that the police have not yet detected. So this is what many of
the public would be worried about. We do not know at this point if this is a terror attack but it is certainly one of the biggest concerns in the
minds of not just the public but police and other officials here.
COSTELLO: All right. All right, Atika Shubert, Fred Pleitgen, thanks to both of you. We'll have more breaking news this morning. It's a busy
morning and it's a stunning verdict in the city of Baltimore.
CURNOW: And we're going to continue our coverage of this mass shooting, what appears to be a mass shooting at a cinema complex in Western
Germany near Frankfurt.
We understand German media is saying 25 people have been wounded at this cinema complex and that is why there is a huge amount of concern, as
we heard Atika Shubert saying there, it's unclear if this is an act of terror or a criminal act.
Either way, it appears, according to German media, that this is an ongoing situation. Elite police have been seen going to this cinema
complex. It is like a shopping mall, as Atika Shubert said; it is a small town. It would have been packed with people, shopping, watching a movie.
We understand this man, according to Reuters, was wearing a mask, had a gun and an ammunition belt. There appears to be, according to, again,
German media, some sort of standoff still. We are not getting any information from German authorities as they try to get a handle on this
There has been a huge concern over terror threats, not just in Germany but across Europe. Germany has been on high alert; there have been a
number of terror raids in recent months and a number of arrests as well.
Concern also of homegrown radicals, perhaps going to Syria to fight and returning back home. Also concerns over whether a terrorist had
infiltrated some of the refugee groups that have been coming over to Europe.
Germany, of course, welcoming them with open arms in the past year. All of this still very, very concerning. It is unclear if it is a terror
attack or if it is a criminal attack.
Atika Shubert is in Berlin. She joins us now.
Not a lot of information, Atika, but still real concerns over what is happening right now. It's ongoing.
SHUBERT: It is ongoing. Police have surrounded the cinema. It's not clear what the status of the attacker is. We understand police have
entered the cinema complex. So it could well be that he -- we don't know whether he's in custody at this point or what kind of weapons were being
What we understand from German public TV is at least 25 were injured and that what appeared to be a heavily armed man entered the cinema and
began shooting. But we don't know at this point what kind of a weapon, how many people were injured by actual shooting or if they were injured trying
to get out of the cinema.
What we know from police is simply that police are on the scene, they sealed off the area and what we are trying to figure out is whether or not
we have a hostage situation or if everybody has actually been able to evacuate the cinema at this point. So it's very fluid. Police aren't
giving any more details at this point.
CURNOW: But this kind of thing, this kind of experience, mass shootings, very uncommon in Germany.
SHUBERT: Very uncommon. First of all, it's very difficult to obtain weapons of any sort.
Having said that, however, we have seen some of the weapons being used in the Paris attacks actually being transported through Germany. So it's
not quite as tight as police would like it. It is possible to obtain weapons, even automatic weapons.
So it has been an increasing concern by police here that a terrorist or anybody else, criminal groups as well, could get access to these kinds
of weapons and use them for attacks or robberies.
CURNOW: And what do we know about the high level of concern over a terror threat in Germany?
SHUBERT: Well, we know that it is at a very high level because there have been a number of indications that Germany is a prime terror target,
not only has ISIS itself said that Germany is a target, but we also know from one arrest in France that there was a cell that apparently operated
between the Netherlands and Germany and was intending to target Dusseldorf.
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