Manila sees demonstrations for and against Duterte
Manila sees demonstrations for and against Duterte
Various groups staged protests, some denouncing President Rodrigo Duterte’s demagoguery but others supporting him.
Pro- and anti-government protesters converged near Malacanang Palace in Manila, with razor wire and the Mendiola Peace Arch standing between them.
Demonstrators in front of the Mendiola Peace Arch called for an end to extrajudicial killings and tyranny, and warned against imposing martial law.
They included members of indigenous communities who came from as far as the northern and southern Philippines.
One protester told Arab News she was there to demand employment, housing and alleviation of poverty.
There were also vendors, who see rallies as an opportunity to earn more money. One of them was Diosdado, 53, who earns on average $4-$6 per day by selling potato fries.
He said although he opposes extrajudicial killings and martial law, he wants Duterte to continue as president.
From the Mendiola Peace Arch, anti-Duterte groups marched to Rizal Park, where they joined demonstrators who had staged similar protests in other parts of Metro Manila.
Activist nun Sr. Mary John Mananzan, one of the figures behind the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT), went on stage to urge Filipinos to unite.
Mananzan, who was part of the 1986 People Power Revolution that ended the Marcos’ rule, called for an end to extrajudicial killings, which the government denies carrying out. She also expressed opposition to the revival of authoritarianism.
Ironically, Duterte declared Sept. 21 a National Day of Protest. The proclamation is in solidarity with popular calls against government excesses and shortcomings, and in support of the highest standards of integrity, efficiency and accountability in government. The proclamation acknowledged freedom of speech and the right to peaceful assembly.
'Brexit continues to mean Brexit': Theresa May defiant despite Westminster resistance
- British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday her government had begun negotiations with the European Union
- May also said talks had already started with Brussels based on the proposal set down in a white paper policy document last week
LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday her government had begun negotiations with the European Union based on her hard-won Brexit plan, pressing on with a proposal criticized by both wings of her Conservative Party.
After narrowly escaping defeat in parliament over her plans for leaving the EU, May signalled she would not drop a proposal on Britain’s future relationship with bloc — the biggest shift in its foreign and trade policy for almost half a century.
But by sticking to her plan for a “business-friendly” departure, May has thrown down the gauntlet to Brexit supporters and pro-EU lawmakers in her party who are at war with each other, and — for some — with the prime minister herself.
Boris Johnson, her former foreign minister who quit over what is called the Chequers plan, was one of the first to renew his call for government to rethink its strategy, saying “it is not too late to save Brexit.”
But at an earlier session of parliament, May stood firm after being challenged by one pro-Brexit lawmaker in her party to explain when she had decided to change her catchphrase from “Brexit means Brexit,” to “Brexit means Remain.”
“Brexit continues to mean Brexit,” May said to cheers from her Conservative supporters.
May also said talks had already started with Brussels based on the proposal set down in a white paper policy document last week after her divided government had thrashed out a deal at her Chequers country residence.
The prime minister insisted she was confident Britain had enough time to negotiate a deal with the EU before leaving in March next year.
While May’s party is in disarray over the plan, EU member Ireland also said it was focusing on the white paper, unwilling to be diverted over the changes to her Brexit plans forced through in parliament this week.
“If we get distracted by individual amendments to individual pieces of legislation ... then I think we get dragged into an unnecessary debate that wastes a lot of time and energy,” Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told state broadcaster RTE.
"WE CAN CHANGE"
May’s vulnerability in parliament, where she lost her majority in an ill-judged election last year, was laid bare on Monday and Tuesday when she faced rebellions from both the pro-Brexit and pro-EU wings of her party.
She won the votes on a customs and a trade bill, but suffered an unexpected defeat on a separate amendment, which means her government must now seek continued participation in the European medicines regulatory framework.
But the government’s approach to securing victory in parliament has not only deepened divisions in her party, but also raised the issue of trust.
One Conservative lawmaker told Reuters the party whips, whose job it is to enforce discipline in parliament, had threatened to call a confidence vote in May if she lost — a move that could bring down the government.
Johnson, figurehead of the Brexit campaign in the 2016 referendum, led those calls in his resignation speech to parliament. He criticized the government for handing an advantage to the EU by agreeing in the talks to a divorce bill before agreeing a future relationship.
“We have time in these negotiations, we have changed tack once and we can change again,” he said. “It is as though a fog of self-doubt has descended,” Johnson said. “We should not and need not be stampeded by anyone.”