Philippine citizens protest Duterte’s drug war on anniversary of dictatorship overthrow under Marcos regime

A rally has been held in Manila outside the cell of a senator who has been charged with drug trafficking offenses. Protesters warned of a return to conditions of the military dictatorship overthrown 31 years ago.

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Thousands of people protested on Saturday against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly war on drugs after the arrest of his most high-profile critic.
Duterte’s political opponents and left-wing activists transformed a traditional celebration of a “People Power” uprising against dictatorship three decades ago in Manila into a protest march condemning his war on drugs.

The group warned that Duterte’s authoritarian rule could return the country to a dictatorship, demanding an end to the extrajudicial killings that have claimed more than 7,700 lives in the past seven months.

The military-backed dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos was toppled in a bloodless “People Power” revolution 31 years ago to the day.
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“We are taking the matter seriously. We are warning our people about the threat of rising fascism,” Bonifacio Ilagan, who led one of the protests, told news agency AFP.
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Protesters shout slogans during a rally at the Heroes Cemetery to protest the hero’s burial of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos (picture alliance/AP Photo/B.Marquez)
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Protesters warned of a return to conditions under the dictator Ferdinand Marcos
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Senator imprisoned
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The protesters gathered outside the national police headquarters, where opposition figure Senator Leila de Lima was detained two days ago on charges that she took bribes from imprisoned drug traffickers.
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“There is a president who is threatening to reimpose martial law and openly support the killings of thousands of people,” de Lima said in a message from her detention cell a day after she was arrested.
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“The grim truth: In the last seven months under Duterte, there were more deaths compared to the 14 years of martial law under the Marcos regime.”
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The former human rights commissioner said her arrest was an effort to silence her and an act of revenge for her decade-long efforts to expose Duterte as the leader of death squads during his time as mayor of the southern city of Davao.
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“President Duterte is effectively expanding his drug war from the urban poor to the legislative branch of government,” Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.
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Protester Ilagan, a playwright who suffered horrific torture over two years in a police prison under Marcos’ martial rule in the 1970s, cited to AFP the “culture of impunity” engendered by Duterte’s anti-drug crackdown. More rallies in support of de Lima were organized for later in the evening.
aw/tj (AFP, Reuters)

http://www.dw.com/en/philippine-citizens-protest-dutertes-drug-war-on-anniversary-of-dictatorship-overthrow/a-37713484

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