New York holds emergency action for Rafael Baylosis
New York, NY – 50 activists gathered for an emergency rally for Philippine activist for Rafael Baylosis in front of the Philippine consulate here, Feb. 5. Baylosis is the labor leader and consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, who was arrested on Jan. 31 on trumped-up charges. The arrest is in violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHR-IHL), which the Philippine government is bound to by being a signatory of both.
The rally was organized by BAYAN USA, and included speeches from New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, Committee to Stop FBI Repression NYC, Gabriela NY, Anakbayan NY, International Action Center, and Labor Against Racist Terror.
“The crackdown on BAYAN leaders is a sign of desperation, is a sign that Duterte’s popularity is falling,” said Bernadette Ellorin of BAYAN USA. “His supporters are small in numbers, and therefore, he must unleash attacks on the people. He must intimidate the opposition, in order to keep the appearance of still being popular.”
Toward the end of the protest, protesters from NYC Shut It Down joined the rally from Grand Central, leading to a march to Times Square. The demonstartion ended with a chant made famous by Assata Shakur, to make the connection between repression of Philippine activists and African-Americans, in honor of Black History Month.