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'Dump Trump', say Philippine protesters
[MANILA] Hundreds of Filipinos converged on the US embassy on Friday to denounce Donald Trump ahead of his inauguration as president of the United States, accusing him of sexism, racism and xenophobia.
Chanting "Dump Trump", the protesters from leftist groups also expressed concerns that Trump was a threat to the millions of Filipino immigrants living in the United States.
"It is alarming to know that an accused sexual predator, a known racist, sexist, xenophobic man is assuming the presidency of the strongest capitalist country in the world," Joms Salvador, secretary-general of women's group Gabriela, told AFP.
"The decades of struggle of women across the world to fight for their rights is threatened by Trump's presidency."
The roughly 300 people who gathered near the US embassy in Manila held placards with the message "@realDonaldTrump hands off Filipino immigrants" and "Trump you're trash". They symbolically dumped photos of Mr Trump in the rubbish bin.
Mr Trump defeated Hillary Clinton after a divisive campaign in which the real-estate billionaire vowed to deport millions of illegal migrants and faced multiple accusations of sexual harassment.
"We are very concerned about Filipino workers in the US dealing with a rise of racism. Some Filipinos there are getting paranoid about their personal safety and their job security," Salvador said.
The Philippines, a former American colony, has strong cultural and economic ties with the United States. The two are bound by a mutual defence treaty and US forces have for many years helped the Philippines on various security issues.
However leftist groups have long railed against the United States for exporting its capitalist model and for what they see as continued American domination of the Philippines.
Protesters at Friday's rally also burned an American flag as they reiterated their longtime demands for US troops to leave the Philippines and the tearing up of what they called "unequal" military agreements.
Bilateral relations have soured under firebrand Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, a self-declared socialist who has pivoted his nation's foreign policy towards China and Russia since taking office nearly seven months ago.