Taipei, Feb. 28 (CNA) A local Filipino party chapter voiced its fierce opposition to embattled Philippine President Gloria Arroyo's
declaration of a state of emergency and called for Arroyo's ouster in a protest Tuesday.
Members of the Migrante Sectoral Party-Taiwan Chapter (MSP-TC) and local human-rights activists staged the protest to accuse Arroyo of corruption, election fraud, and failing to make the Philippines a better country in front of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), the de facto embassy of the Philippines in Taiwan. The group plans to return Sunday for another protest.
Arroyo declared the state of emergency in a desperate move to cling to power, said Gi Estrada, Taiwan Coordinator of the Asia
Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) and Secretary-General of the MSP-TC.
Aside from arresting military officers suspected of opposing the Arroyo government, Arroyo has banned protests and started cracking down on the opposition. According to the Philippine National Police, there are more than 200 people who are to be arrested -- with or without a warrant.
"The state of emergency is essentially martial law, which gives Arroyo the power to do whatever she wants," Estrada said, adding that two congressmen -- Crispin Beltran and Joel Virador -- have been arrested, and a newspaper, the Daily Tribune, was raided.
"We are disappointed at the current government," said Gil Lebria, who was among a dozen protesters holding cardboard signs
reading "Never again to Martial Law," "Oust GMA [Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo], " and "Resist GMA's state of emergency."
"The Taiwanese experienced the tragic '228' massacre on this very day 59 years ago, and that's why we oppose any dictatorship or
tyranny. It's sad to know Filipinos are having to go through the 'White Terror' and martial law just like us," said Lennon Wong, Deputy Director of the Department of International Relations, Chinese Federation of Labour.
Tang Shu, head of the Labor Rights Association's policy department, urged the Philippine government to release the two
The Philippine government should immediately stop suppressing human rights groups, said Chen Jau-hua, a Philosophy professor at Soochow University. Chen estimated that more than 4,000 human-rights activists were killed in the Philippines last year.
Gloria Arroyo declared the state of emergency in Philippines on February 24 after stamping out a coup attempt.