Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the police and military to "shoot dead" any "troublemakers" who cause disturbances during the coronavirus quarantine in the Philippines,The Philippine Star reports. The move comes after protestors staged demonstrations over the lack of food and financial aid they've received from the government since the lockdown began in the country on March 17.
"I will not hesitate [to tell] my soldiers to shoot you. I will not hesitate to order the police to arrest and detain you," said Duterte in his address, adding: "Instead of causing trouble, I'll send you to the grave." The president is infamous for his alleged violations of human rights, previously drawing the fury of the international community over his order for vigilante hit squads to murder suspected drug dealers without due process.
Amnesty International condemned Duterte's new statements. "The abusive methods used to punish those accused of breaching quarantine and the vast number of mass arrests that have been carried out to date, against mainly poor people, are further examples of the oppressive approach the government takes against those struggling with basic needs," said the organization's local section director, Butch Olano.
The human rights NGO added that more than 17,000 people have already been arrested for violations of the lockdown and curfew in the Philippines, and that "reports have also appeared of inhumane punishments those breaching quarantine have been made to endure, including sitting for hours in the hot sun or being detained in dog cages." Jeva Lange