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Protests in Brussels unmask Arroyo as mastermind of political killings

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Several protest actions in Brussels, Belgium yesterday (Sept. 12) unmasked Gloria Arroyo, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police as the masterminds of the political killings in the Philippines.

After being criticized by the prime minister of Finland during GMA’s visit there, GMA was hounded by several protests in Brussels during her visit to the Belgian Parliament and the European Union.

Before being reminded by European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso that the political killings in the Philippines “were a matter of concern” to the EU during their meeting, about 100 protesters gathered earlier at the Schuman plaza fronting the European Commission building to denounce GMA, the AFP and the PNP as “the masterminds” behind the political killings.

The Belgian, Dutch and Filipino protesters carried a big banner in full view of many motorists and pedestrians demanding to “Stop the Political Killings”. They also paraded placards that read: “GMA, Norberto Gonzalez, War Criminals”, “R.I.P. (Rot In Prison)” referring to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, and “GMA, AFP, PNP — masterminds of political killings”. They occupied the small plaza and laid out wooden crosses and photos of some of the more than 740 persons murdered by military death squads allegedly directed by GMA herself and the Cabinet Oversight Committee on Internal Security.

Inga Verhaer and Eloi Glorieux, members of the Belgian and Flemish Parliaments, respectively, were among the protesters. They spoke to the crowd about the need to defend human rights and democracy in the Philippines and to stamp out repressive regimes.

Marie Hilao, general secretary of Karapatan-Philippines, also joined the protest and spoke to expose GMA’s direct responsibility for the political killings. Hilao is scheduled later to fly to Geneva to file a formal complaint in behalf of the victims of the political killings and their families with the UN Human Rights Council.

The crowd composed mainly of Belgian trade union and solidarity activists were later joined by Dutch and Filipino activists and some Filipinos working in Brussels.

At the American embassy

Later in the afternoon, Belgian, Latin American, Dutch and Filipino activists joined in a noisy protest in front of the American embassy in Brussels to condemn the continuing persecution and detention of the so-called “Cuban Five”. A representative of Committee DEFEND spoke about how the US government and its puppet regimes demonize patriots and revolutionaries. Committee DEFEND also denounced the terrorist listing by the US and the EU that has encouraged GMA, the AFP and the PNP to murder political activists.

At the Cathedral

While Gloria Arroyo was capping her day in Brussels with a 6 p.m. Mass with the Filipino community at the Cathedral of Saints Michael and Gudule along Parvis Sainte-Gudule in downtown Brussels, 14 Belgian, Dutch and Filipino activists tried to mount a silent protest by standing in front of the church with the wooden crosses and photos of the victims of the political killings.

Apparently alarmed at the sight of the protesters, Filipino security personnel were seen calling the local Belgian police to prevent protesters from coming close to the church and the presidential party.

The Belgian police confiscated some of the photos displayed by the protesters and asked for their European identity cards, and told the activists they were violating the law by not asking for a permit.

When the protesters retorted that they were not violating any law because they were merely burning candles for the murdered victims of Gloria Arroyo and praying for justice, the police threatened to haul them off to the local police precinct arguing that praying is allowed only inside the church. A police officer almost lost his cool when an activist asked him if they were specifically requested by GMA’s security personnel to prevent protesters from coming close to her.

After confidently making their point, the activists dispersed peacefully.

British and Filipino solidarity activists are also expected to hound GMA with protests when she visits London this week.


For reference:
MIGRANTE Europe (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Keizersgracht 132, 1015 CW Amsterdam
The Netherlands