Filipinos, Foreigners in 15 Countries Condemn Killings in Sept. 21 Rallies Complaints vs Arroyo, generals filed with UN rights body in Geneva

Posted 3:00 p.m. , Sept. 21, 2006

Thousands of Filipino immigrants and migrant workers together with foreign nationals in 15 countries across the globe marked the 34th anniversary of the declaration of martial law on Sept. 21 with protests highlighted by pickets and rallies in front of Philippines embassies, consulates and other sites.

Called the “global day of action,” the Sept. 21 protests centered on condemning the Arroyo administration as repressive reminiscent of the Marcos dictatorship and for its responsibility in the extra-judicial killings of 755 activists and the enforced disappearances of more than 181 others.

Organized by the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS), initial reports received by Bulatlat said the condemnations were heard in the United States, Canada, The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Great Britain, Austria, Norway, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia. Pickets, demonstrations and candle-lighting ceremonies honoring activists killed allegedly by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s security forces were held in at least 27 cities.

In the United States alone, the protest actions, led by Bayan-USA and allied organizations, took place in eight cities including San Francisco and Los Angeles in California; Washington, DC; New York City; and Honolulu in Hawaii. Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto were the sites of similar protests in Canada.

The anti-Arroyo and anti-martial law mobilizations followed closely the Philippine president’s visits last week in Europe and Hawaii which prompted spontaneous rallies and pickets by Filipinos, Dutch, Belgians, British and other nationals denouncing the recent political killings in the Philippines.

Macapagal-Arroyo was rebuked by the Finnish president and the head of the European Commission for the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines. Leaders of Amnesty International in London also asked the Philippine president to ensure that the Melo Commission, which she formed to probe into the killings, remains independent and impartial.

Meanwhile, representatives of cause-oriented and rights groups in the Philippines have begun filing complaints with the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. The working committees and Rapporteurs of the UNHRC are deliberating on the complaints with the sessions expected to last until the next few days.

Similar suits will be filed with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and other international institutions.

Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in the Philippines on Sept. 21, 1972 citing the “clear and present danger” posed by the Left and rightist oligarchs who wanted him ousted from the presidency. Lasting until the dictator’s fall in the February 1986 Edsa I people’s uprising, martial law led to the killing of thousands of activists, the disappearances of thousands others and the displacement of at least five million other Filipinos.

Except for Marcos who was found guilty post-mortem by a Hawaiian court in a class suit filed by 10,000 martial law victims, not one of Marcos’s martial law co-conspirators and executioners have been prosecuted through the country’s judicial system until today. In fact, many of them remain in power.

Several of his presidential decrees (PDs) remain in effect and used as grounds by the present government to effect what is increasingly seen by many Filipinos as a de facto martial law. (

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