Accusing President Donald Trump of representing “the worst aspects of U.S. imperialism,” hundreds of Filipinos protested in Manila on Friday ahead of his visit.
Protesters carried signs emblazoned with #BanTrump and chanting, “Trump, not welcome!” and “Fight U.S. imperialist war!”
The U.S. currently has 180 military bases in the Philippines, and the coalition of left-wing groups gathered to express concerns that Trump administration could establish more there.
Demonstrators also gathered outside Trump Tower in Manila, voicing concerns that Trump’s warm relationship with Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte could gradually lead to their country’s involvement in the United States’ rising tensions with North Korea.
Trump, said the coalition called Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in an interview with Southeast Asia Globe, “is right now the biggest threat to regional peace with his provocations against North Korea.”
In the U.S. protests were also planned in at least four cities by the Filipino-American group BAYAN-USA. Demonstrators planned to congregate from Sunday until Tuesday to voice opposition to Trump’s pro-war agenda as well as his economic agenda in Asia.
Trump will attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit while in the Philippines, where the White House says he will address “the importance of fair and reciprocal economic ties with America’s trade partners.” On Friday, Trump delivered a speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit consistent with his “America First” agenda, in which he asserted that the U.S. has suffered from multi-national trade agreements.
Protests in the U.S. will also focus on Trump’s relationship with Duterte. Trump has complimented the Filipino president on the war he’s waged against citizens who have drug addictions, saying the government was doing a “great job” earlier this year in its efforts to rid the country of illegal drugs. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 2,500 Filipinos have been killed by the country’s police force since 2016, and a total of 12,000 people have died as a result of the war on drugs.
“These two are infamously known as fascist presidents who openly attack the poor, whether through Duterte’s Dirty Drug War that has killed more than 13,000 people, or Trump’s authoritarian racist and sexist policies, such as the Muslim ban and multiple cuts to education, women’s reproductive rights, rescission of DACA impacting the whole country,” said Jessica Antonio, secretary-general of BAYAN-USA. “History has shown that people will rise up against fascism and will not be complacent. We will continue to rise up against fascism until this same old system crumbles, so we can build a society that truly reflects the majority of people.”
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