Supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte gather at Manila's Rizal Park for an overnight vigil to show their support for the President's so-called war on drugs.
Supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte gather at Manila's Rizal Park for an overnight vigil to show their support for the President's so-called war on drugs. Bullit Marquez

Duterte's hardline war on drugs splits protesters in Philippines

A PROTEST against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs has been dwarfed by a rally supporting the bloody campaign.

On a day when the 1986 "People Power” uprising is celebrated, former president Benigno Aquino led about 3000 protesters in condemning the President's narcotics crackdown, which has resulted in more than 7000 deaths by police and vigilantes since he assumed power on June 30.

Later in the capital, supporters of the President were out in force to back the crackdown, lighting candles and singing religious songs.

Police estimated about 200,000 people attended, but some reporters said the figure was much less.

There was a minor scuffle between pro-and anti-Duterte supporters, Reuters reported.

Senator Leila de Lima, a fierce critic of the President, delivered a message from her detention cell a day after she her arrest on drug charges that her supporters have described as false and part of a vendetta.

"There is a president who is threatening to re-impose martial law and openly support the killings of thousands of people,” she said.

"In the last seven months under Duterte, there were more deaths compared to the 14 years of martial law under the Marcos regime.”



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