FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Filipinas Join Thousands in New York Protesting Wars Around the World
Reference: Irma Salvatierra Bajar, Chairperson, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment
New York City – On Saturday, April 9, thousands of anti-war protesters flooded the streets of New York City to demand an end to the wars all over the world at the United National Anti-war Committee rally at Union Square. Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), as an anti-imperialist organization, demanded an end to covert wars of U.S. military aggression in the Philippines under the pretext of the Balikatan Exercises, Oplan Bayanihan, and the Visiting Forces Agreement.
FiRE was part of the 75 person Asian Pacific Islander contingent which included BAYAN USA, AnakBAYAN NY, AnakBAYAN NJ, New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, Action 21, and Jersey City Peace Movement. “We need to show solidarity in international issues, especially due to the bombings and military presence in Korea, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine. Our struggles are connected and rooted in the military presence of the U.S. in this nations,” said Christina Hilo, Secretary General of FiRE.
April marks the beginning of the annual the Balikatan Exercises or, war games between the Philippines and the United States military. During this, three thousand U.S. troops endanger the lives of thousands of Filipinos by detonating explosives and conducting manhunts in local communities. Usually, the victims of enforced disappearances and murders, the armed forces are given impunity for furthering President Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan agenda.
FiRE, which defends the rights of women across the globe, “represent[s] the women who are exploited through forced prostitution, trafficking, rape – which all increase when there is a base embedded in the community, “ said Krystle Cheirs, Finance Director of FiRE.