Leftist activists yesterday marched to the US Embassy in the Philippines to protest the upcoming visit of US President Donald Trump, who will attend a Southeast Asian leaders’ summit in Manila on the weekend. Anti-riot police officers blocked the demonstrators before they reached the seaside embassy compound, raising tensions as the protesters tried to push their way in.
The activists shouted anti-US slogans and carried banners with such messages as “Ban Trump!”, “Trump, not welcome” and “Fight US imperialist war.” They vowed to hold more protests against Trump, who is scheduled to arrive in Manila tomorrow for the leaders summit of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean).
“The only welcome befitting of his visit is protest and condemnation,” said human rights group Karapatan, which also criticised the 10-member Asean for being “subservient” to partners such as the United States, Canada and Australia. “There is no partnership here, only the connivance of powerful countries to sell, undermine, and plunder the rest of the world,”
said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
“US imperialism is tantamount to war, human rights violations, unfair economic policies, and the preservation of a world order that favours a wealthy few,” she added.
Trump is scheduled to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte on the sidelines of the Asean summit or the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference meeting being held in Vietnam.
US lawmakers have called on Trump to raise the issue of human rights violations in the Philippines during his meeting with Duterte, who vowed to tell other foreign leaders to “lay off” on the issue during the Asean summit.
Duterte has been widely criticised for a spate of killings related to his administration’s campaign against illegal drugs, which has left thousands of dead.
In Danang, Vietnam, where he was attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit, Duterte said he would propose holding an international summit on human rights if other leaders insist on discussing the issue. “Let’s have a summit of how we can protect the human rights for all human race,” he told reporters late Thursday.”
We should call all, not zero in on me. There are so many violations of human rights.” “I will volunteer to make the Philippines the venue,” he added. “All the victims of human rights violations are invited to come and air their gripe or grievances.”
At least 3,850 people have been killed in police operations against drug suspects between the time when Duterte came into office on June 30, 2016, and September 16, 2017, according to police data. Police said those killed fought back when arrested. Aside from those killed in police operations, authorities are also investigating the deaths of nearly 11,000 people to determine if their killings were related to illegal drugs and carried out by hired or vigilante killers.
In August, the killing of three teenagers in alleged police operations linked to the anti-drug crackdown highlighted concerns over abuses in the campaign, triggering public outrage across the Philippines.
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