Philippine chief’s opponents flip historic occasion into protest march | Reuters


By Manuel Mogato

MANILA Supporters and opponents of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte turned a conventional celebration of the 1986 “Folks Energy” rebellion into demonstrations for and in opposition to his bloody struggle on medication.

Former president Benigno Aquino, the one son of Corazon Aquino, the icon of democracy, led about three,000 protesters gathered at Manila’s historic freeway, website of the favored rebellion that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos three a long time in the past.

The protesters condemned the lethal narcotics crackdown, which has killed about 7,700 folks because the firebrand chief got here to energy on June 30, claiming they had been the victims of extrajudicial killings. The police have denied the allegations.

Later the president’s supporters held a much bigger counter-rally on the capital’s most important public park, lighting candles and backing the marketing campaign in opposition to medication, crime, corruption and poverty. Police estimated about 200,000 folks had been on the park.

“Our nation is getting higher and the criminals are slowly getting rounded up,” mentioned Risa Pedrosa, aged 43, who attended the rally.

“We must always again President Duterte all the best way and I hope that God will give him good well being to proceed all these modifications to the Philippines. Lengthy stay the president,” she informed Reuters.

Politicians took turns in delivering fiery speeches at each rallies with native celebrities and rock bands entertaining the gang. There was a minor scuffle between pro-and anti-Duterte supporters.

The small political opposition mentioned there was a danger of a return to authoritarian rule below Duterte.

“There’s a president who’s threatening to re-impose martial legislation and brazenly help the killings of hundreds of individuals,” staunch Duterte critic Senator Leila de Lima mentioned in a message from her detention cell, a day after she was arrested for drug offences that she described as a vendetta.

“The grim reality: within the final seven months below Duterte, there have been extra deaths in comparison with the 14 years of martial legislation below the Marcos regime.”

Earlier, lots of of left-wing activists marched on the principle freeway in Manila to demand the “real change” promised by Duterte, calling for the resumption of peace talks with Maoist-led rebels and the discharge of greater than 400 political prisoners.

Former President Fidel Ramos and former senator Juan Ponce Enrile, hailed because the heroes of the 1986 revolt in opposition to Marcos, attended a mass on the most important military base in Manila to mark the anniversary, which Duterte skipped.

Inside Minister Ismael Sueno had requested native officers to encourage supporters to hitch candlelight occasions organized by a pro-administration political motion.

(This model of the story was refiled to right a typographical error within the spelling of “bands” in paragraph 7)

(Enhancing by Kim Coghill, Greg Mahlich)

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