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Presidential protest

On the eve of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s maiden visit to Cambodia, five Filipino nationals yesterday conducted a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it protest against the head of state’s lethal crackdown on the country’s longstanding drug problem. Duterte is scheduled to land in Phnom Penh this evening and will have an audience with King Norodom Sihamoni on Wednesday afternoon, followed by a meeting with Prime Minister Hun at the Peace Palace before ending the visit with a state banquet.

The five protesters, who wished to remain anonymous, re-enacted the aftermath of an extrajudicial killing in the Philippines – a woman crying over the corpse of an alleged drug peddler. The country has witnessed up to 6,000 killings related to the war on drugs since Duterte’s ascension to the presidency in July. One of the protesters said the group didn’t belong to any organisation and that their 30-second demonstration was a commonly used form of protest at Filipino universities.

‘That was a lightning protest action. It is used to show a powerful image and convey to the president to uphold human rights,’ he said. During his visit, Duterte – who is expected to be accompanied by boxer and Philippines Senator Manny Pacquiao – is also slated to sign two memoranda of understanding: one combating transnational crime and one on sports cooperation, according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release.

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