Manila, April 11 (IANS) Dozens of Filipino protestors rallied on Tuesday near the presidential palace against extra-judicial killings amid the government’s anti-drugs campaign.
More than 100 demonstrators gathered at the Mendiola Peace Arch, near Malacanang Palace, where they performed stage plays portraying the procession and crucifixion of Jesus Christ to protest President Rodrigo Duterte’s policies, including his support for death penalty, Efe news reported.
About 80 members of the charity Urban Poor Associates and 50 members of labour group SENTRO also took part in street plays, during which protestors wearing crowns of thorns and white clothes daubed in red paint carried large crosses as they marched while being escorted by others dressed as Roman soldiers.
The demonstrators also carried signs with slogans including ‘Stop the killings’, ‘lowering of age for criminal liability’, ‘death penalty’, ‘extrajudicial killings’.
The protests came a day after officials reported that more than 100 suspected drug dealers and addicts died in clashes with the police over the last month during the second phase of Duterte’s anti-drugs campaign, after it was temporarily suspended in January to launch an investigation into police corruption.
The first phase of the campaign, which began when Duterte took office in June 2016, led to more than 7,000 deaths within seven months, including more than 2,500 at the hands of police officers.
Duterte is also supporting a controversial bill to restore the death penalty in the country.