Filipino protesters trample on Xi effigy, condemn China’s maritime ‘aggression’

April 9, 2024 - 4:20 PM
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Filipino activists hold a protest condemning China's actions during an encounter in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, outside of the Chinese Consulate in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines, April 9, 2024. (Reuters/Lisa Marie David)

Protesters in Manila trampled on an effigy of Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday as they condemned China’s “aggression” against the Philippines in the South China Sea.

The protesters marched towards the Chinese consulate in Manila, chanting “China leave!” while others called out China’s “aggression” against Filipino people in the South China Sea.

The Philippines and China have had a series of maritime run-ins, including an incident last month where China used water cannon to disrupt a Philippine supply mission to soldiers stationed on a grounded warship in the disputed Second Thomas Shoal.

“Our message is addressed to the Chinese government: move out of the West Philippine Sea, dismantle its illegal structures … recognize the 2016 arbitral tribunal ruling, and stop the harassment of Filipino fisher folk and … Philippine supply missions,” said Mong Palatino, one of the protest leaders.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea as its territory, policed by an armada of coastguard vessels, some more than 1,000 km (620 miles) away from its mainland.

A 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration concluded that Beijing’s claim to almost the entire South China Sea was groundless, but China rejects that ruling.

—Reporting by Jay Ereno; Editing by Kim Coghill