MANILA – Hundreds of Filipinos on Wednesday gathered for a protest outside the annual Mining Philippines 2017 International Conference and Exhibition in Manila.
Around 500 protesters, largely made up of members of indigenous communities from all over the Philippines, shouted slogans and carried placards denouncing mining practices and calling on President Rodrigo Duterte to halt all mining nationwide, according to an epa journalist at the rally.
The rally was held one day after Duterte warned of the environmental dangers of mineral extraction and expressed his support for a ban on open-pit mining that was put in place by former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez. There have been calls from within the mining industry to lift the ban.
One of the protesters, a member of the Igorot people, told epa that his party had travelled by foot from the mountains in northern Luzon to convene in Manila with other indigenous groups ahead of Wednesday’s action.
The demonstrators shouted slogans such as “stop mining on our ancestral lands!” and condemned the alleged killings of indigenous people by mining interests. They also set fire to a banner depicting Duterte as a puppet of US mining interests.
The protestors tried to storm the hotel to take their action inside, but were stopped at the entrance by anti-riot police officers and fire officials.
There were also some minor scuffles and clashes, but no injuries or arrests were reported.