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U.S. Reports One-Day Vaccination Record Of 4.6 Million Shots; Remembering Prince Philip; More Universities Requiring Proof Of Vaccination; African Nations Remember The Duke Of Edinburgh; Death Of George Floyd; Michigan's Spike In COVID-19 Cases; Over 80 Killed In Myanmar On Friday; Northern Ireland Violence; Rare Tropical Cyclone To Land In Western Australia; Hideki Matsuyama Takes Lead At Masters. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired April 11, 2021 - 01:00   ET





MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How hard has the last year been?



HOPPES: People are dying.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Heartbreak in the emergency rooms of Michigan, as the state faces yet another COVID surge.


HOLMES (voice-over): Tense fighting in Myanmar as the military's assault on its own people continues. More than 700 have been killed since the coup began. We'll have a live update for you.

Also --




HOLMES (voice-over): International tributes for the Duke of Edinburgh and at home, as well. We'll show you the images from across the globe.


HOLMES (voice-over): And live from CNN World Headquarters here in Atlanta, I'm Michael Holmes. This is CNN NEWSROOM.


HOLMES: And our top story this hour, an influential COVID-19 model warns Americans not to put their masks away yet as cases surge in Michigan. Let's have a look at that spike there. You can see it at the right of the graph. The state reporting nearly 7,000 new cases on Saturday.

The federal government sending 160 extra vaccinators to Michigan to help get shots into arms. Meanwhile, some hospitals there are delaying nonemergency procedures on a case-by-case basis because they're getting full. Officials calling it a last resort.

Medical experts say pandemic fatigue combined with the spread of coronavirus variants are behind the surge in Michigan. CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro with more.


EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Even as vaccination rates rise in places like New York, where I'm standing, there's still a concern that America is in the grip of this pandemic, especially in the state of Michigan, where the viral numbers are rising at a dangerous and scary rate.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): The second we let our guard down, it comes roaring back

MCMORRIS-SANTORO (voice-over): As COVID-19 cases soar to alarming levels in Michigan, a warning:

DR. JONEIGH KHALDUN, MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: We are on track to potentially see a surge in cases that's even greater than the one we saw in the fall.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO (voice-over): The state's positivity rate is up to 18 percent and hospitalizations are climbing. Governor Gretchen Whitmer is asking high schools to go remote, youth sports to pause and encouraging citizens to skip indoor dining for the next two weeks.

WHITMER: To be very clear, these are not orders, mandates or requirements. A year in, we all know what works and this has to be a team effort. We have to do this together.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO (voice-over): Vaccinations in the state continue but not fast enough. The governor is pleading for more vaccines from the federal government, as the disruption of the supply of Johnson & Johnson vaccines continues to take a toll across the U.S.

WHITMER: We really should be surging vaccines to states that are experiencing serious outbreaks.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO (voice-over): The coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Response says the Federal government will offer states with outbreaks additional testing and personnel. But as of now, will not increase the number of vaccines. JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: The virus is unpredictable. We don't know where the next increase in cases could occur. We're not even halfway through our vaccination program, so now is not the time to change course on vaccine allocation.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO (voice-over): This, as the CDC is aware of four states that have reported some adverse reactions to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Several states even halting distribution of that vaccine.

The CDC is not recommending health department's stop administering Johnson & Johnson shots at this time and at least one county in North Carolina, plans on resuming doses as soon as Monday.

SYRA MADAD, SPECIAL PATHOGENS PROGRAM, NYC HEALTH AND HOSPITALS: Right now, the benefits certainly outweigh the risk but more information hopefully will come out to the general public.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO (voice-over): And what could be promising news, drug maker Pfizer asking the FDA for emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine to expand to children ages 12 to 15 in the U.S. Currently, it's approved for people 16 and up only.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I'm very optimistic about this. We need them to get the benefit of the vaccine but also it will help us to reach herd immunity a lot faster.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO (voice-over): And vaccine requirements are becoming part of the new normal. Analysis by CNN finds 16 colleges and universities and counting -- the latest, Duke University -- will require students to show proof of full vaccination before returning to on-campus classes this fall.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Experts are telling Americans to keep the precautions going, to keep wearing masks and avoiding places where people aren't wearing them, even if they're vaccinated, because this virus, they say, this pandemic, is still very much with us -- Evan McMorris-Santoro, CNN, New York.



HOLMES: Dr. Abdul El-Sayed is a CNN contributor and epidemiologist and also a former Detroit health commissioner.

Doctor, good to see you. The U.S. sees bigger numbers, in recent days, as this U.K. variant becomes dominant, particularly, where you are, actually, in Michigan.

What are your concerns, even as vaccinations continue?

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's right, Michael. We have this unfortunate circumstance, where we have a set of dynamics that are leading to spread, particularly as you mentioned here, in my home state of Michigan.

The first is we have got B.1.1.7 enriching in some pretty profound ways. We are seeing growth about 7.5 percent every week or so. And that really is concerning because it's more transmissible. And it's, also, more virulent, more deadly.

The second is that, while we have vaccines on the way, they're still not, yet, here; 25 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated. But that leaves another 50 percent that need to get vaccinated to get that bottom level of herd immunity that we need, to really clamp down on this pandemic.

And then, the third is that there has been a lot of, we will just say, aggressive reopening in the face of the oncoming vaccines. And I think, in some respects, the optimism about what the vaccine can do has far outstripped how much vaccine we have actually gotten into arms.

So you take those things together and you are starting to see the uptake we are seeing across the country. And it's concerning because are on the doorstep of the finish line and we just need to get across. So folks need to do the things we have been doing, masking up, backing up, washing up and hopefully, now, vaxing up.

HOLMES: Yes. I wanted to pick your brain, too, because when you talk about vaccination numbers globally, the statistics are really worrying. Only 2 percent of the global population has been able to get fully vaccinated, 2 percent. The wealthiest countries are vaccinating 25 times faster than poorer countries.

Dozens of nations haven't had a single dose. And there was a Duke study that suggested poorer countries might not have a vaccine until 2024. What happens in one country impacts others.

So how important is the global vaccination effort?

EL-SAYED: You are absolutely right, Michael. This is a global pandemic and we have to take the global part of it extremely seriously. And folks in this country are really worried about it because, A, we know that we have a global responsibility to making sure that the vaccines that are manufactured here, that they get out everywhere because, of course, it is critical for us to do our part to make sure that we are bringing down this global pandemic.

The second part of it, though, is it really is concerning because every single warm body that remains unvaccinated presents an opportunity for this virus to pick up more mutations, potentially a mutation that would render our vaccines useless.

And so, it -- it -- it really is a matter of not just the right thing to do for folks living in other countries but the right thing to do for folks living here, in the United States. And so, it is a real responsibility.

And we need to do what we can to make sure that we are getting vaccines out to everyone in this world to finally end a real global pandemic. So I really appreciate you bringing that up, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes. No, it's a great point; don't vaccinate poorer countries and then you are going to end up suffering in wealthier countries, anyway. And I guess you touched on this but whether you are vaccinated or not, models are showing that wearing a mask could still save thousands of lives in the months ahead.

What do you say to those, even if vaccinated, who might relax on that front?

EL-SAYED: That's right. Look. We know that the dynamics of pandemics, they can move really quickly on us. And these vaccines are safe and very effective. And -- but the problem is, is that for these vaccines to have their full effect, we need blanket vaccinations.

And the way I think about vaccines is kind of like a blanket. If you put a blanket on a fire, right, you can bring that fire down. And so, these vaccines are like a blanket for this pandemic.

The problem, though, is if you slowly feed a blanket into a fire, what happens is that, that fire will eat up that blanket. And so, part of the effect here is that we need to get a lot of people vaccinated at the same time to achieve this idea of herd immunity, to bring this pandemic down.

And until then, it's critical that even vaccinated people do their part to prevent the spread of -- of -- of these diseases. And that means wearing a mask. I know, that a lot people find it uncomfortable.

But let's be honest, right?

It's a lot less uncomfortable than living in a world where there is a global pandemic, ongoing, because we haven't done our part to stop that from happening.

HOLMES: I'm going to find it weird to not wear a mask and I don't think I will ever touch a doorknob again in my life. But, yes, not much to ask.


HOLMES: Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, thank you so much, as always.

EL-SAYED: Michael, thank you.



HOLMES: Now in the United Kingdom, there has been a second day of tributes to Prince Philip. Images of the Duke of Edinburgh lighting up London's famous Piccadilly Circus as well as the city's BT Tower. Elsewhere, there were gun salutes in his honor.





HOLMES (voice-over): You can see Cardiff Castle there. Rounds were also fired at the Tower of London, Edinburgh Castle and also at sea. Prince Charles says his father would have been touched by the reaction to his death.


CHARLES, PRINCE OF WALES: My dear papa was a very special person who, I think, above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him and from that point of view we are, my family, deeply grateful for all of that. It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time.


HOLMES: Now we're learning more about the duke's funeral, which will take place on Saturday, April 17, a low-key ceremony in line with the duke's wishes and COVID guidelines, of course, which allow up to 30 people to attend.

Prince Harry is going to fly in from California, though Meghan, who is pregnant with their second child, is being advised by her doctor not to travel. CNN's Isa Soares is in Windsor for us.

The pandemic impacting the funeral plans but the duke wanted a low-key affair, no fuss, right?

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Michael. He wanted a low-fuss funeral. That's just the sort of man he was. He didn't want attention to be on him and so I think what we are seeing is in many ways ironic that this low-key funeral may have been, in fact, Michael, to the Duke of Edinburgh's taste.

It won't be, like you said, a royal -- it won't be -- it will be a ceremonial royal funeral and not a full state funeral. There won't be processions, there won't be crowds because of COVID-19. It will be a small, intimate funeral, perhaps to his liking.

Only 30 people will be able to attend. They will have to wear a mask and keep social distancing. But what we have heard from -- from officials is that, in fact, it will still meet the duke's wishes and it will actually be able to reflect his life, his legacy and his work.

In terms of who will attend, we know that Boris Johnson, the prime minister, will not be able attend. He won't be attending. We know, as you mentioned, Prince Harry will be coming from the United States. We assume he'll probably have to arrive sometime today, because, remember, Michael, he will have to quarantine for some time.

We know that his wife will not be able to attend because she is pregnant and been advised by her doctor not to travel. In regards to the eulogies and other members of the royal family who may attend, we'll find out more on Thursday.

But it will be a small and intimate funeral but, of course, members of the public will be able to watch it on television, although, as we heard from Prince Charles, they are deeply saddened that the public cannot partake in his father's funeral -- Michael.

HOLMES: All right, Isa Soares there in Windsor, England, thank you so much.

Prince Philip was deeply passionate about sport and tributes have been taking place at matches and venues across Britain. A moment of silence observed before Rugby Union games and Premier League matches over the weekend. The Grand National horse race also paid tribute to the duke, who himself had been a world champion equestrian.

Nature and the outdoors were also among Prince Philip's great loves, something he got a chance to indulge in on royal visits to Africa. Eleni Giokos has more on the duke's legacy there.


ELENI GIOKOS, CNNMONEY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was on a trip to Kenya that the lives of then Princess Elizabeth and her husband, Philip, would be forever changed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They went up the tree as a couple and one came down as a queen, who was a princess. And that was then the current queen of England.

GIOKOS (voice-over): In 1952, while staying at Treetops hotel, Elizabeth became queen, after her father, King George VI, died in his sleep after a bout with lung cancer back in England. Philip was the one that broke the news to her, which would alter his part as well.


GIOKOS (voice-over): He gave up his much-loved career in the navy and embarked on a life as the queen's consort. In this role, he would become a familiar face to the Commonwealth countries of Africa, which were once under British rule.

He met some of the continent's most famous leaders, sometimes accompanied by the queen; other times, representing the crown on trips on his own.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband, has died at age 99.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tributes have continue to pour after the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, died.

GIOKOS (voice-over): His legacy in Africa for some is summed up by his passion for environmental conservation. The duke was once president of the World Wildlife Fund, though he loved to hunt and fish.

The president of Cameroon tweeted that he will continue to inspire generations who have been marked by his fight for the protection of the environment.

But for some, his impact across Africa can't be separated from the dark history of British colonial rule.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Basically, to me, as a Ugandan, I don't think it would mean that much to me. But to the monarchy, it's a big step, considering he was a consort to the queen. So meaning there is a gap for her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's just held up by years and years of the legacy of colonialism, that's what holds it up. That's the only reason why we care about that news.

GIOKOS (voice-over): Many commonwealth leaders tweeted their condolences to the royal family and especially to the queen, saying, the man who brought her those difficult tidings decades ago won't soon be forgotten.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is sad, yes, because we've lost a life. But then looking at the age he was, I guess it's a celebratory thing, really celebrating the prince's life.

GIOKOS (voice-over): Eleni Giokos, CNN, Johannesburg.


HOLMES: And coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, medical experts and law enforcement officers take the stand in the murder trial of former officer Derek Chauvin. What they had to say about the cause of Floyd's death. That's when we come back.





HOLMES: Well, it was another week full of gripping testimony in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer, accused in last year's killing of George Floyd, the unarmed Black man.

The focus this week, the medical analysis of Floyd's cause of death. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus brings us some of the week's most powerful moments.


ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The second week of the Derek Chauvin murder trial concluded with a key witness, Hennepin County medical examiner Andrew Baker.

JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTOR: You conducted the autopsy on Mr. George Floyd.


BROADDUS (voice-over): He acknowledged that heart disease and drugs played a role in George Floyd's death, but the manner of death remains a homicide.

BAKER: That's what I put on the death certificate last June, law enforcement sub dual restraint and neck compression.

BROADDUS (voice-over): Baker's statements capped off a week of testimony from medical experts and law enforcement officials, repeatedly poking holes in Chauvin's defense, which argues Floyd died from a combination of underlying health conditions, along with the ingestion of methamphetamine and fentanyl.

DR. MARTIN TOBIN, PULMONOLOGIST, EXPERT WITNESS: That's the moment the life goes out of his body.

BROADDUS (voice-over): Dr. Martin Tobin, a world-renowned pulmonologist, broke down in detail four critical factors that he says cause Floyd to stop breathing, like Floyd's position on the asphalt, which restricted his lungs.

BLACKWELL: You mentioned several reasons for Mr. Floyd's low oxygen.

You mentioned one handcuffs and the street, right?

TOBIN: Correct.

BLACKWELL: You mentioned knee on the neck?


BLACKWELL: Prone position?


BLACKWELL: And then the knee on the back arm inside were those the four?

TOBIN: Yes, these are the four.

BROADDUS (voice-over): Defense attorney Eric Nelson argued that Floyd could have died as a result of taking drugs moments prior to officers forcing him to the ground.

ERIC NELSON, DEREK CHAUVIN'S ATTORNEY: Is it fair to say that you would expect the peak fentanyl respiratory depression within about five minutes?

TOBIN: Right. I mean, obviously, it would depend on how much of it was ingested.

But what if there was any amount of it ingested?

Yes, the peak will be five minutes. BROADDUS (voice-over): Tobin ultimately concluded drugs didn't kill Floyd, testifying that he had not taken a proper breath for almost 10 minutes, at which point the carbon dioxide in Floyd's body had reached lethal levels.

The jury also heard from Chauvin's former boss, Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo. He later said what happened to Floyd was "murder." The chief was asked about Chauvin's use of force.

STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTOR: So is it your belief then that this particular form of restraint, if that's what you will call it, in fact violates departmental policy?

CHIEF MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT: I absolutely agree that violates our policy.

BROADDUS (voice-over): The defense pushback arguing that Chauvin's knee placement, which they say was actually on Floyd's back was a proper police prone hold.

NELSON: Does this appear to be a neck restraint?


NELSON: Does this appear to be a prone holds that some an officer may apply with his knee?


BROADDUS (voice-over): But the testimonial theme from law enforcement and use of force experts was clear. Witnesses clearly told the jury that Derek Chauvin used "excessive and deadly force on George Floyd when restraining him with his knee for more than nine minutes."


HOLMES: And our thanks to Adrienne Broaddus for that.

Now defense lawyers will soon call their own witnesses and, of course, CNN will have complete coverage when court resumes Monday. That's right here on CNN.

Quick break; the COVID-19 situation so bad in Michigan, hospitals are starting to become worried.


LINDSAY MUENCHEN, REGISTERED NURSE, COVID-19 UNIT, SPARROW HEALTH SYSTEM: The first day I came in and saw that our unit was full of COVID patients again, it was really difficult.


MUENCHEN: I had tears in my eyes.

HOLMES (voice-over): We'll take you inside a hospital fighting the surge. Stay with us.





HOLMES: And welcome back to our viewers all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

At the top of the hour, we mentioned the COVID-19 case surge in Michigan. Well, CNN got access to the one of the hospitals once again filling up. It had had to reform its COVID unit after disbanding it months ago, as CNN's Miguel Marquez reports.


MARQUEZ: How are you?

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Fred Romankewiz was on his way to get vaccinated.

FRED ROMANKEWIZ, COVID-19 PATIENT: I was going there. And I didn't feel right.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): He got a COVID-19 test instead. It was positive.

MARQUEZ: You were right at the finish line.

ROMANKEWIZ: There was a lot of -- there's a lot of emotional baggage that went with that.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): He says he got it from his 19-year-old son, Andy. His wife, Betsy, was fully vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine. She, too, got COVID-19 with only minor symptoms. The virus hammered Fred, 54 years old and no underlying conditions.

ROMANKEWIZ: I felt like I went 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. I was absolutely physically exhausted. I mean, I felt like I had been beat up. I felt like I had been in a car accident. I mean, it was crazy.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Tina Catron thinks her son's soccer club brought the coronavirus into her home.


TINA CATRON, COVID-19 PATIENT: Even though we were all masked up from the sidelines, everyone's yelling.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Her boys, Levi and Jesse, got it with no symptoms. Her husband, Jason, got a bad case. Hers was worse.

CATRON: They said, yes, you have pneumonia because -- from COVID so going to admit you. And here I am. MARQUEZ: How surprised are you to be in this bed?

CATRON: Oh, very shocked.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The 44-year-old mother of two with no underlying conditions outdoorsy, active, never sick, adherent to coronavirus guidelines, never thought she would get COVID or that it would hit her this hard.

CATRON: It's weird. It's almost like you feel like you're suffocating a little bit. I don't know it's hard to explain but you get really lightheaded and you're just like, whoo, clammy.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Two cases of thousands in the Wolverine State, now in its third coronavirus surge.

DR. MEREDITH HILL, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, EMERGENCY MEDICINE DEPT., SPARROW HOSPITAL: We're not to where we were back in November, December. But I would say that the rate of increase seems more drastic than it did back then.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): At Lansing Sparrow Health System, COVID-19 admissions have risen 600 percent in a month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so we're trying to see where we can pull extra staff from.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The hospital had disbanded its COVID incident command center; with cases piling up, they've reestablished it.

JIM DOVER, PRESIDENT, CEO, SPARROW HEALTH SYSTEM: In December, we had a high of close to 150 patients. Right now we have 95. And at the rate it's going, if it doesn't abate, we'll be at 150 patients in 15 days.

MARQUEZ: Fifteen days.


MARQUEZ: And do you know where the top of the curve is?

DOVER: We do not know where the top of the curve is.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Dr. Justin Skyrzynski specializes in caring for patients with COVID at Beaumont Health Royal Oak, part of the largest health care system in Michigan.

COVID tests of some patients sent for DNA analysis indicate a worrying sign, a sharp increase in the new more contagious, possibly more lethal B.1.1.7 variant.

DR. JUSTIN SKYRZYNSKI, COVID-19 HOSPITALIST, BEAUMONT HEALTH: Right now the regular COVID test we do that's still just showing COVID, no COVID. But we do send a lot of those out to the state and we're seeing something like 40 percent of our patients now B.1.1.7.

MARQUEZ: Oh, right? SKYRZYNSKI: Yes, so big percent.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): As older Michiganders and those with underlying conditions get vaccinated, hospitalizations for them have plummeted. Now the hospitalized, typically younger and healthier.

LYNDA MISRA, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, COVID-19 UNIT, BEAUMONT HEALTH: Each surge has brought different challenges. And when we address them, we felt very strong that we had this disease under attack. But then we get a thrown a curve ball.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): For health care workers, an exhausting year, getting longer.

MUENCHEN: The first day I came in and saw that our unit was full of COVID patients again, it was really difficult. I had tears in my eyes.

MARQUEZ: Twenty-two years a registered nurse.


MARQUEZ: How hard has the last year been?

HOPPES: Harder.


HOPPES: People are dying. I'm sorry.

MARQUEZ: Why it's so hard to talk about?

HOPPES: Because I just saw it yesterday.

MARQUEZ: What did you see?

HOPPES: I had a patient that passed away.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The weight of so much sickness and death, that burden getting only heavier -- Miguel Marquez, CNN, Michigan.


HOLMES: Now one of the most heartbreaking things about the coronavirus pandemic, of course, is the people suffering and dying alone in hospitals without their loved ones nearby.


HOLMES (voice-over): Want to show you something that a Brazilian nurse came up with to offer comfort and also to help measure patient's oxygen levels. She filled two medical gloves with warm water and shaped them as hands. It mimics human touch. And it also, at the same time, warms patients' hands.

A journalist who tweeted the picture called it "the hand of God."


HOLMES: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Do stay with us. We'll be right back.





HOLMES: We've seen more violence in Myanmar, the military continuing to slaughter its own citizens at a brutal rate. A monitoring group says more than 80 people were killed on Friday alone. This latest bloodshed happening in the city of Bagur.

The monitoring group says security forces used assault rifles, hand grenades and even rocket propelled grenades on people's homes. Now that brings the civilian death toll since the coup to more than 700. Paula Hancocks following all of this for us from neighboring Thailand.

I mean, that death toll just keeps going up but the protesters continue to turn out.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Michael, the monitoring group you're talking about, AAPP, they point out every time that the actual death toll will likely be far higher. These are just the people who have lost their lives that they can confirm. Obviously a very difficult situation to do on the ground.

Now this is a city that's about 60 kilometers away from the capital and, according to local media and those on the ground, they say that, on Friday, the shooting started early in the morning and it went on all day.

Now as you mentioned there, there is some very heavy machinery being used, RPGs -- rocket propelled grenades -- against protesters. This is the sort of weaponry you would expect to see on the battlefield. That was pointed out by AAPP. They said the military wanted a battlefield and in fact, what it was, was a killing field.

We have a very different narrative coming from the military junta. They say they came under attack from 30, 50, 80 protesters, saying they were using handmade guns, fire bottles, arrows, handmade shields and grenades.

And they claim that just one person was killed on the protester side. So two very different narratives coming in here. AFP News Agency hearing from eyewitnesses, saying they saw many, many bodies being loaded onto military trucks and then taken away.

This is something that we have heard in the past from different areas, the fact that the military is taking bodies away to potentially try and hide that death toll. Now at the same time, we also heard on Friday that some 19 people have

been sentenced to death by the military junta for what they allege was being involved in the death of an associate of an army captain. Again, we see on the military side, there is no impunity, there's no repercussions for the deaths that they cause.

But when it comes to the protester side, we hear from the military's state run media that there are now 19 sentenced to death for that one individual death. We don't know the exact details of that case itself -- Michael.


HOLMES: Just an unbelievable situation. Paula Hancocks there in Thailand for us, thank you.

Now Saturday marked the 23rd anniversary of the landmark Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland. But it came with violence on the rise again and warnings against sliding back into sectarian conflict.

Some protests by pro-British loyalists were postponed after the death of Prince Philip. They're angry about Brexit but angry about other things as well. All right, let's go back 23 years now to remember what was.


HOLMES (voice-over): The Good Friday agreement ended decades of deadly conflict known as the Troubles that pitted loyalists against pro-Irish nationalists. Fast forward back to this week and riots that began in loyalist areas spilled across to so-called peace line boundaries in Belfast along the nationalist side.


HOLMES: Let's get some perspective on all of this. I want to bring in writer and commentator Sarah Creighton, live from Belfast.

Thank you for being with us. So, first of all, how much of what we are seeing is about Brexit and the Northern Ireland protocol?

And how much of that is a spark to other existing grievances?

SARAH CREIGHTON, WRITER AND COMMENTATOR: Yes, Michael. There's a number of different reasons why. There's multiple factors. Brexit is one of them. So there is anger there within the Northern Ireland protocol, which came in part due to the British Brexit deal.

They believe that it has affected the British identity and they are very angry about that. But I do think it is important to point out that the majority do not support violence. That is very much the sense there among those communities at this point in time.

HOLMES: Sectarian violence, nor the paramilitary groups behind it, never fully disappeared from Northern Ireland, I mean, do you -- do you see their hand, bad faith actors, if you like, exploiting some of what we're seeing?

CREIGHTON: That's certainly what journalists on the ground are reporting, that there is an element of this, which can be attributed to paramilitaries in certain parts of Northern Ireland. There were people who were instigating this and that some of the violence has been organized in other places as well.

There is certainly a criminal element here. And I do think the concern is that a lot of children are going out and rioting here and they are maybe being egged on by older paramilitaries and that is a huge worry.

HOLMES: In fact, I was just about to ask you about that, because it is striking, the number of young people involved -- and we're talking early teens, youths who wouldn't have known the Troubles because they wouldn't have been born.

And these allegations that they're being egged on by older people, you know, clearly the hatred of old, the deep historical divisions, still exist on some level.

Do you see a time when that won't be so?

CREIGHTON: I don't know if that will ever happen in my lifetime. But I think it's important to say, this is based on hundreds of years, decades of conflicts. Obviously there's a lot of pain on both sides, so, that is going to take a long time to disappear.

But I do think it is an indictment of our politicians in Northern Ireland that we haven't moved along as much as we should have done after 23 years. Nobody expected all of this would be sorted in 23 years.

But I think there's a lot of work to be done and certainly in terms of tackling sectarian division, there's a lot of work to do. And a lot of leadership is needed by politicians in Northern Ireland. And a lot of the concern is that politicians in Northern Ireland maybe haven't provided that leadership.

At this time, it is allowed, this situation, to escalate in a way it should not have. But there are multiple reasons for this. But certainly that underlying issue of the conflict itself is a problem. And it's going to have to be tackled further down the road or this could -- it could escalate.

But we're not talking about the Troubles coming back again. It's important to stress that. But there is a concern, if this is not dealt properly, it will not add to the situation.

HOLMES: Yes, it is sad in many ways. I was in Belfast, covering the Troubles in '88-'89 and here we are. It's been two weeks of this, 88 police officers reportedly hurt.

Where do you see this heading or where do you fear it could head?

CREIGHTON: I think if you had spoken to me a couple of weeks ago, I wouldn't have been as worried as I am now. I do have to stress, when I say I'm worried, I'm not worried that the Troubles are going to come back.

But the situation is quite delicate and there are people out there -- and I cannot stress enough they are the minority -- that are maybe intent on causing trouble and causing violence.


CREIGHTON: And I think the concern, the worry is, where is that going to be directed?

Is it going to be directed towards the British government?

I don't know. I don't think so.

There is a lot of anger toward the Irish government, who are being blamed by some of these elements for the Northern Ireland protocol. That's a concern. And the issues with a threat and the security, obviously this could spill over into communal violence as well.

It's hard to say where this is going. There's a lot of talking at this point in time. Just in general, between the groups, trying to talk to different political parties, hopefully this will calm down. Hopefully this will just disappear as it has done in the past and this will be dealt with properly.

But the concern is this could just escalate in the way that this type of violence becomes much more prominent over the summer, when the 12th of July parades and things kick off and that this could get even more frequent than it already is.

HOLMES: Yes, that is the fear, I mean, 23 years since that Good Friday agreement.

Is the broader peace -- I mean, you've got the leadership on both sides wanting to calm things down.

Is there any suggestion that the broader peace in terms of the agreement is at risk in any way?

CREIGHTON: Not at this point, no. Certainly there is a feeling and a sentiment amongst some loyalist communities, who are a bit frustrated with the Good Friday agreement. And that has come up because, in terms of what we call the peace dividend, in terms of the benefit, it really has not gone to working class communities.

In Northern Ireland, that's Republican armed loyalists. But I don't think the peace agreement is going to fail. It's codified in law and legislation. There's still widespread support so I don't think we're there yet. I think that isn't likely to happen, hopefully.

HOLMES: Yes. Yes, thankfully. Sarah Creighton, fascinating. Great to talk to you and get your analysis there in Belfast, thank you.

CREIGHTON: Thank you very much.

HOLMES: Quick break here on the program. When we come back, it has already devastated parts of Indonesia, now it's on its way to Australia. We track the progression of a tropical cyclone. We'll be right back.






UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at that. Look at that.

HOLMES (voice-over): Look at that, indeed. That's a waterspout just offshore of Panama City Beach, Florida, on Saturday and then coming onshore. Well, when it does that, it's a tornado, isn't it?

Once on land, it caused extensive damage in that area and knocked out power to hundreds of homes and businesses. Amazing.


HOLMES: Now western Australia is preparing for the arrival of a pretty rare and powerful storm that has already caused major damage in Indonesia.


HOLMES: Now the final round of the Masters tournament starts on Sunday. Things were heating up on Saturday, round three, until rain and wind put a bit of a damper on things and, it should be said, slowed the ball down, too. There's a new leader on the board.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rachel Blackmore raises the bar still higher. She won the National --

HOLMES (voice-over): And a history making finish there, Rachel Blackmore just became the first female jockey to win the Grand National. Blackmore timed her finish perfectly as she steered Minella Times, her horse, across the finish line at Aintree on Saturday.

RACHEL BLACKMORE, GRAND NATIONAL WINNER: I just cannot believe it. He was an absolutely sensational spin. My God, as long as I've been around these horses, I don't know what it's -- I'm so lucky through riding him. And I just can't believe we're set to win the Grand National.

I don't feel male or female right now. I don't even feel human. This is just unbelievable.

HOLMES (voice-over): Yes. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the race took place in front of empty stands. But the excitement could be felt in the air. Blackmore, an Irish woman, also made history last month, becoming the first leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival. Huge congrats to her. That's incredible.


HOLMES: I'm Michael Holmes, thanks for your company. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @HolmesCNN. But don't go anywhere. Robyn Curnow is going to be here in just a moment.