Palace official says martial law off the table as Duterte says protesters can be shot 

The COVID-19 death toll in the country has reached 107. (Reuters)
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Updated 02 April 2020

Palace official says martial law off the table as Duterte says protesters can be shot 

  • Duterte ordered soldiers and the police to shoot and kill those who might cause “trouble” amid a lockdown

MANILA: The Philippine government was not keen on imposing martial law to combat the coronavirus disease, Cabinet Secretary Karlos Nograles said on Thursday.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday openly ordered soldiers and the police to shoot and kill those who might cause “trouble” amid a lockdown to contain the spread of the contagion.

In a virtual press conference, Nograles, spokesperson for the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, allayed fears of a possible imposition of martial law in the wake of Duterte’s warning against violators of quarantine protocols.

Nograles said that while martial law was off the table, in a state of calamity there had to be order. “That’s why it’s important for President Duterte to keep the peace and order specially in this time.”

“Let’s not complicate things by making it a peace and order problem. It’s already hard as it is,” he said.
 
Nograles made the statement a day after President Duterte said that he would not hesitate to have those who took advantage of the situation and created trouble to be arrested or even shot dead.

“I will not hesitate. My orders are to the police and military, also the village officials, that if there is trouble or the situation arises that people fight and your lives are on the line, shoot them dead. Do you understand? Dead. Instead of causing trouble, I’ll send you to the grave,” Duterte said in an impromptu televised address late on Wednesday.

“Do not test the government,” Duterte said, adding that the situation was getting worse three weeks into the month-long lockdown, or what that government calls “enhanced community quarantine.”

The COVID-19 death toll in the country has reached 107, as the number of confirmed infected individuals rose to 2,633 based on latest data from the Department of Health, while 51 patients have recovered from the disease.

“So let this be a warning to all. Follow the government at this time because it is really critical that we have order,” he said.

The president was referring to the political left, but also possibly others who may protest or question strict measures adopted by the government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

His warning came hours after residents of San Roque village in Quezon City staged a protest to demand food aid claiming they had not received relief items since the lockdown was imposed on March 17.

Police arrived at the scene and reportedly asked the residents to leave the area. But they refused to do so, prompting the police to arrest some of them.

Authorities identified the left-leaning urban poor group Kadamay as the instigator of the protest.

“Remember, you leftists: You are not the government . . . and you cannot be a part of what we are planning to do for the nation . . . do not cause riots because I will order you detained and release you only when this COVID (crisis) is over,” Duterte said.

“I will not hesitate (for) my soldiers to shoot you. I will not hesitate to order the police to arrest and detain you . . . When you get detained, you are on your own when it comes to food,” he said.

Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Archie Gamboa however assured the public that the police would not shoot leftists and quarantine violators. He said that the president  just “overemphasized” law enforcement in his recent address to the nation.
 


Germany reports spike in far-right crime for 2019

German right-wing extremists, pictured here waving a flag of the "Imperial Eagle," have turned their attention to protesting lockdown measures introduced to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (AFP)
Updated 27 May 2020

Germany reports spike in far-right crime for 2019

  • Germany was stung by a series of right-wing attacks against Muslims and Jews in 2019

BERLIN: Germany saw a spike in far-right crimes including anti-Semitic attacks last year, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Wednesday, describing the trend as a “great concern.”
Authorities registered more than 41,000 politically motivated crimes in 2019, ranging from hate speech to bodily harm, arson and murder — a rise of 14.2 percent on 2018 and the second-sharpest jump since records began in 2001.
Crimes committed by members of the far-right scene grew 9.4 percent, and accounted for more than half of all politically-motivated crimes.
Although such crimes represent a small fraction of overall lawbreaking in Germany, the figures have a “striking significance ... for the stability of our democracy,” Seehofer said, adding that the rise was “of great concern.”
Some 93.4 percent of anti-Semitic and 90.1 percent of Islamophobic crimes had a far-right motivation, Seehofer said.
Germany has been rocked by a string of extreme-right attacks over the past 12 months.
A gunman with apparent far-right beliefs killed nine people at a shisha bar and a cafe in the city of Hanau in February, while two people were killed in an attack targeting a synagogue in Halle in October.
In June, pro-immigration politician Walter Luebcke was found shot dead at his home in the state of Hesse, and a far-right sympathizer arrested soon afterwards was last month charged with his murder.
Seehofer proclaimed in March that right-wing extremism and right-wing terrorism were “the biggest danger for democracy in Germany,” promising a beefed up security response.