Protesters have gathered outside the Philippine consulate in New York City to protest against President Duterte’s war on drugs.
So far at least 1,800 drug-related killings have been recorded. Some protesters believe that the president has been given a “licence to kill”.
The government and police maintain that these victims were resisting arrest during routine operations.
Protests also took place in San Francisco and Washington, DC.
Groups that attended the protest included:
- VOCAL, New York
- ACT UP
- The Treatment Action Group
- The Harm Reduction Coalition
- Health GAP
- New York Harm Reduction Educators
- Damayan Migrant Workers Association
Protesters believe the shootings are “summary killings” and staged a “die in” outside the consulate, some brandishing placards denouncing the president as a “mass murderer”.
Consulate officials stepped outside to speak to the protesters to assuage their concerns.
The Influence, a New York based news source, spoke with Linda Oalican, executive director of the Damayan Migrant Workers Association.
She said: “I just want to make an appeal to our president. I support some of the things that he is doing. He released political prisoners and that’s really good.
“He released activists who fought the dictatorship during the time of Marcos in the 1970s, so for that I am very happy.
“But on the issue of drug addiction, President Duterte, please think about the poor people who have no jobs and who are really desperate and hopeless and because of their state of mind they have become vulnerable, some of them have turned to drugs.”
“Because you have advocated for the extrajudicial process of getting rid of these people, what happened?
“Our poor people have become victims of vigilantes and you know some of the bad people in our country and now it’s happening… 1,800 Filipinos killed. Many are poor. And think about the children and families of these poor people?”
A Board Member of VOCAL also spoke on behalf of the protesters saying: “We all thought we had it bad with the drug war here in America, with people’s rights being violated on a regular basis. We had no idea, now that there is a new approach to drug use in America, that it had gotten so bad where officials were taking the lives of their citizens.”