ILPS Commission 17 on LGBTIQ Rights demands the immediate release of 20 LGBT activists from our member organizations Bahaghari and GABRIELA Philippines, who were violently arrested during a peaceful demonstration on 27 June, 2020, in Manila, Philippines.
Bahaghari, which means Rainbow in Filipino, is an organization of militant LGBT activists. They fight alongside the masses of their people in the Philippine National Democratic movement for liberation from imperialist domination in the economic, political, and cultural spheres.
The Philippine National Police attacked the Bahaghari demonstration, which bore slogans decrying the new “Anti-Terror Bill” in the Philippines. As anti-imperialists, we trace the roots of fascist state terror in the Philippines to the Duterte government’s puppetry to US imperialism – mirroring its tactics in order to serve its interests.
According to BAYAN USA, “The US-Duterte’s regime’s blatant disregard for people’s constitutionally protected rights, such as the right to peacefully assemble, will only continue to increase if the Anti-Terror Bill (ATB) becomes law. This fascist government has been stockpiling human rights violations with more than 30,000 extra-judicial killings, over 41,000 quarantine arrests and now with the ATB soon to pass into law on July 8, it will in effect, legalize the arrest of anyone who is considered a terrorist (as vaguely defined in the bill), or anyone with “intent” or “inciting” terrorism.”
The Pride 20 face charges for illegal assembly, disobedience, and social distancing violations. The Philippine government’s Bayanihan Act is using the pandemic as an excuse to increase fascist control over frontline communities while at the same time failing to provide PPE, access to mass testing, and hazard pay.
We know that the people who are most often tagged with terrorism in the Philippines are largely activists, human rights defenders, environmental defenders and anyone denouncing Duterte or his policies. Arresting and fining activists for fighting for protection of their communities will not stop the pandemic. The people deserve a health-focused and scientific response including Mass Testing, contact tracing, PPE, and financial assistance.
On the 51st Anniversary of the Stonewall riots and in the midst of a global uprising against fascist police brutality, we see clearly that LGBTIQ people are not free. Pride has historically been a protest. Pride demands an end to police terror, Pride demands justice for LGBTQ lives lost, and Pride advocates solidarity with international struggles.
ILPS Commission 17 stands in solidarity with LGBT organizations against fascism, imperialism, and police terror. We condemn the aggressive dispersal and arrest of Bahaghari and GABRIELA Philippines activists. We join with other LGBTQ organizations and allies in calling for the Philippine Government to:
1.Immediately release, without charges, the detained Mendiola activists
2.Immediately Junk the Anti-Terrorism Bill
3.Swiftly enact the SOGIE Equality Bill
4.Recognize and protect the fundamental rights of ALL persons regardless of SOGIE and political persuasion