Filipino protesters urge US troops withdrawal
Hundreds of left-wing activists and indigenous citizens have poured onto the streets of the Philippine capital, Manila, to call for the withdrawal of US troops from the Southeast Asian country.
During Friday’s rally, protesters burned a US flag and urged the government of President Rodrigo Duterte to terminate military agreements with Washington.
Holding a banner reading “End the reign of Imperialism! Fight for the right to self-determination,” the demonstrators expressed their support for Duterte’s independent foreign policy.
“We are calling on the president to remain steadfast in his pronouncements separating from the United States and pursuing an independent foreign policy, and an independent track towards development,” New Patriotic Alliance Secretary General Renato Reyes said
In a meeting with business leaders in Beijing earlier this week, Duterte announced that he would “separate” from the US and realign with China and Russia.
The remarks came after US criticism of Duterte’s anti-drug crackdown, which has left some 3,000 suspected drug dealers and pushers dead in just three months.
A similar anti-US rally outside the US embassy in Manila on Wednesday turned violent after a police van plowed through a crowd of demonstrators.
US soldiers were stationed on the southern island of Mindanao in 2002 to purportedly train and advise local government forces in their fight Abu Sayyaf militants. The majority of the US personnel withdrew in 2015, but US officials say that some of their troops remain in the Philippines in an advisory role.