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New York protest demands peace and justice in the Philippines

By staff

New York rally in solidarity with struggle in Philippines.

New York, NY – Activists gathered in front of the Philippine Consulate General on Fifth Avenue Dec. 9 to demand that Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process, Jess Dureza, uphold peace and justice in the Philippines.

The protest was called for by International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) and several organizations attended to stand in solidarity with the Philippines. Groups attending included NYC Students for Justice in Palestine, Committee to Stop FBI Repression, the Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Anakbayan, and Bayan USA.

The protesters gathered and loudly chanted, “Brick by brick, wall by wall, free the prisoners, free them all!” as people walked past.

A series of speakers communicated the demands of ICHRP. Ana Robelo of NJ Anakbayan listed them, “the release of all political prisoners, to end militarization and counter-insurgency that terrorizes communities and activists defending their rights, and to support the ongoing peace talks between the government Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front to address the root causes of oppression and inequality that resulting in armed conflict in the Philippines.”

Robelo also touched upon Filipino political prisoners and urged listeners to learn from their experience, stating, “Take the example of political prisoners of Gerald Salonga and Guillermo Carano who were released this week, to use our skills and talents to fight fascism and defend our communities.”

Michela Martinazzi from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, made the connection between Rasmea Odeh’s case and the need to fight for political prisoners, “If Israel and the U.S. had gotten their way, Odeh would have been in prison and deported. But we did not rest! We packed the courtrooms and we rallied in solidarity! And today she's facing retrial after a successful appeals process. The truth is that when the empire strikes against us it reveals their fear of the people. It reveals the terror of our power. That's why we must demand the release of all political prisoners, because as long as we keep taking the streets and tearing down imperialism, the state will keep trying to push us down.”

After the speeches, the protesters were invited to speak to the Presidential Advisor Dureza and waited for an hour before finally being able to meet with him and his delegation. The protesters asked him what the future plans were and if he was able to at least ensure some of their demands, but Dureza kept giving contradictory answers.

However, the protesters will continue to demand justice, the freedom of all political prisoners and that the peace process be seen all the way through.

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