Sept. 22 — Activists gathered across from the United Nations headquarters in New York City this afternoon to denounce Filipino dictator Rodrigo Duterte, who had spoken to the U.N. General Assembly.
Duterte has unleashed a wave of terror against workers, peasants and human rights defenders in the Philippines. Among those murdered was 72-year-old Randall “Randy” Echanis, who was stabbed to death on Aug. 10. He was a beloved peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
At least 30,000 people have been killed by police in Duterte’s “war on drugs.” These executions without trial are meant to terrorize the poor and stop them from organizing.
Yet bloodstained Duterte dared to speak at the U.N. about human rights!
New York police forced protesters to move five blocks north and stopped people from using a bullhorn. First Amendment rights to free speech don’t apply to opponents of U.S.-backed tyrants.
Speakers from MALAYA (the U.S. Movement Against Killings & Dictatorship and for Democracy in the Philippines), ICHRP-US (the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines-United States) and Bayan denounced Duterte.
Steve Millies, from Struggle/La Lucha newspaper, declared that “Behind dictator Duterte is Trump and the Pentagon.” He pointed out the world’s biggest drug pusher is the CIA.
Millies emphasized the important role that Filipina/o workers play in the United States. It was Filipina/o farmworkers who started the historic grape boycott in 1965.
While health care employees come from many backgrounds, New York City hospitals would have to close without the labor of Filipina/o and Haitian workers.
Duterte’s days are numbered. A powerful day of resistance to his dictatorship is growing in the Philippines.
Poor and working people in the U.S. must demand that the Pentagon get out of the Philippines.