3,000 flip-flops placed in National Mall in protest of U.S. funding Philippine military

Activists placed 3,000 flip-flops on the National Mall Thursday in a call for Congress to pass the Philippine Human Rights Act, which would cut support for Philippine military and police over human rights violations. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI

Nov. 19 (UPI) — Activists on Thursday placed flip-flops on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in protest of extrajudicial killings carried out by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

As part of the protest organized by the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, demonstrators placed 3,000 pairs of flip-flops, each representing 10 of the 300,000 killings carried out under Duterte’s leadership as they urged U.S. lawmakers to stop providing military aid to the nation.

The protest sought to encourage Congress to pass the Philippine Human Rights Act, which would cut support for Philippine military and police until alleged human rights violations have been examined.

It calls for suspension of U.S. security assistance and vetoing of loans to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippines National Police and also requires the U.S. State Department and U.S. Department of Defense to report to Congress on the misuse of the aid, “including but not limited to extrajudicial killings, intimidation, illegal sales, and misappropriation.”

The bill cites the threat posed by Duterte and the military to trade unionists, journalists, small farmers, LGBTQ activists and critics of the government.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., reacted to the demonstration on Twitter.

“This human rights tragedy must end. It’s time to pass my bill, the Philippine Human Rights Act,” she wrote.

Democratic Oregon Reps. Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer also released a joint statement calling for the bill’s passage.

“During President Duterte’s regime, we have seen widespread and well-documented extrajudicial murders in a so-called ‘War on Drugs,’ and Philippine security forces are suspected in the murders of pro-democracy advocates, Indigenous people and other voices of dissent,” they wrote. “It is unconscionable that U.S. military aid continues to flow to the Philippine government.”


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