Protests against Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s regime have erupted in Manila, a day after the arrest of one of the leader’s biggest critics.
On the 31st anniversary of the fall of Ferdinand Marcos’ corrupt and brutal regime, demonstrators marched through the island nation’s capital to protest Duterte’s war on drugs – which has claimed close to 8,000 lives in seven months.
Protesters drew a parallel between the 14 years of martial law under Marcos and Duterte’s crackdown on drug trafficking.
Duterte has been vocal in his support for the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers and criminals, many of which have been carried out by vigilante group,
Senator and former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is an outspoken opponent of Duterte’s war on drugs.
She was arrested on Friday for allegedly violating drug trafficking law by taking bribes from dealers operating inside prisons.
“There is a president who is threatening to re-impose martial law and openly supports the killings of thousands of people,” she said in a statement made from her cell.
“The grim truth: in the last seven months under Duterte, there were more deaths than in 14 years of martial law under the Marcos regime.”
“The grim truth: in the last seven months under Duterte, there were more deaths compared to the 14 years of martial law under the Marcos regime.”
Rights groups have criticised Duterte for de Lima’s arrest, saying it was a “politically motivated” attempt to silence his opponent.
His reign has attracted controversy for its brutal approach to policing drugs, with thousands of killings carried out by both officers and vigilantes.