New York City’s Times Square was packed on April 10 with a protest against the U.S. military’s latest incursion on Philippine sovereignty.
The Pentagon has sent over 12,000 troops to the Philippines for the annual Balikatan (“shoulder-to-shoulder”) military exercises. Along with them are 5,400 Filipino forces. These maneuvers ― the largest in their 30-year history ― are aimed at the People’s Republic of China.
Demonstrations against these dangerous provocations have occurred in the Philippines and around the world. Filipino people don’t want to be part of the Pentagon’s World War 3.
A statement from BAYAN USA Northeast ― one of the Filipino organizations calling the protest ― described the menace of these maneuvers:
“These actions will only further stoke tensions between the U.S. and China and will leave the Filipino people caught in the crossfire. We hold our protest at the U.S. Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Times Square to denounce the recruitment of working-class youth to wage imperialist wars to enforce the interests of the one percent.”
The BAYAN statement pointed out that current Philippines President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the son of the notorious dictator Ferdinand Marcos, has provided a welcome mat to U.S. armed forces. There are now nine U.S. military bases in the Philippines.
Protesters carried a large banner reading “U.S. troops out of the Philippines,” along with many signs. Chants included, “From Palestine to the Philippines, Stop the U.S. War Machine!”
Joining BAYAN, which called the protest, were the Malaya Movement USA; GABRIELA, National Alliance of Women; Migrante International; the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS); New York Boricua Resistance; Palestinian Youth Movement; New York Community Action Project; and the NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines.
Speakers from these organizations, along with Veterans for Peace, appealed to onlookers to oppose the U.S. war drive.
Speaking for Struggle – La Lucha newspaper, Bill Dores reminded people it was the 125th anniversary of the 1898 U.S. invasion of the Philippines. He called it “a war for imperialist conquest, in which one million Filipino people died the same year they invaded Puerto Rico and Cuba.”
Referring to the latest U.S. military moves, Dores said that “this endless war is a pretext for plundering people, the working class and oppressed communities in the United States. They’re cutting food stamps. They just threw 15 million people off Medicaid.”
Amidst the flashing advertising signs of Times Square on a Monday evening, many people stopped to listen to the talks about the war danger. Leaflets were handed out.
Working and poor people in the U.S. need to oppose the Pentagon war buildup and U.S. support for the Marcos regime that’s killing Filipino workers, peasants, and activists.
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