Manila, Aug 20 (IANS) Dozens of Filipino communists marched through the streets of Manila on Saturday in support of the upcoming peace talks between the Philippines government and the National Democratic Front (NDF).
The peace talks will be held in Oslo on Monday.
Around 30 young communists participated in the rally shouting slogans in support of the New People’s Army (NPA), the military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), Efe news reported.
The around two-kilometre march saw participants hand out leaflets and graffiti on walls espousing their support for the NPA. They also carried communist flags and signs bearing slogans such as “Youth, join the New People’s Army” and “Fight neo-liberal rules of education.”
Since 1969, the NPA has been waging one of Asia’s longest running insurgencies in the country, with some 40,000 lives reported to have been lost in the conflict.
The protest followed the release of two top communist leaders, Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, on Friday who were granted temporary bail so they can participate in the talks.
The Tiamzon couple, alleged top leaders of the CPP, were arrested in Cebu, a Philippines province, in March 2014 over charges of crimes against humanity.
The CPP’s political arm, the NDF, has argued that the pair are their consultants and are covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) that grants them safe conduct during peace talks with the government.