x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Journalists protest massacre in Philippines

A thousand journalists and activists march in Manila to protest against the massacre of 57 civilians, including at least 30 journalists and their staff.

MANILA // About 1,000 journalists and activists marched today in the capital to protest against the massacre in the southern Philippines of 57 civilians, including at least 30 journalists and their staff in the world's deadliest attack on the media. Clad mostly in black shirts and carrying a black mock coffin as well as placards calling for a stop to media killings, they demanded the arrest of all suspects in the November 23 massacre in southern Maguindanao province. The massacre victims were in a convoy to cover a local politician's filing of his intention to run for governor in the predominantly Muslim province when dozens of gunmen abducted then butchered them on a nearby hill and buried them in mass graves. The candidate's wife and sisters were among the dead.

The carnage drew worldwide condemnation, including from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It has also highlighted the violent factionalism that plagues the volatile region - and the deadly risks journalists take in covering it. Media watchdogs say it was the world's deadliest single assault on journalists. The protesters marched to a bridge near the presidential palace. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's spokesman Cerge Remonde, a former radio broadcaster, walked over to the protesters, whose path was blocked by barbed wires and police, to assure them the government was doing everything to give justice to all the victims. But he was booed, heckled and hit by crumpled paper thrown by irate protesters.

* AP