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Duterte asks police to 'shoot dead' lockdown violators

Philippine leader warns 'leftists' against causing trouble during coronavirus lockdown, rights groups condemn remarks

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 02.04.2020
Duterte asks police to 'shoot dead' lockdown violators

ANKARA

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte ordered law enforcers to "shoot” residents causing "trouble" during the government's lockdown put in place to contain the spread of coronavirus, local media reported. 

He addressed the nation on Wednesday night, hours after some residents in Quezon City were arrested for protesting against the measures, claiming they had not received ration or other relief supplies.

The country's main Luzon island, which also includes the capital Manila with a population of over 57 million, is under a lockdown for over two weeks.

“Remember, you leftists: You are not the government. Do not go around causing trouble and riots because I will order you detained until this COVID-19 [outbreak ends],” Rappler news website quoted Duterte as saying.

“I will not hesitate. My orders are to the police and military… that if there is trouble or the situation arises that people fight and your lives are on the line, shoot them dead. Do you understand? Dead. Instead of causing trouble, I'll send you to the grave,” he warned the violators.

According to the Philippines Department of Health, 11 people infected with the coronavirus died in the last 24 hours, raising the country’s death toll to 107.

At least 2,633 people tested positive while 51 recovered from the disease.


Condemnation

The Philippines leader's warning drew criticism from rights groups that urged him to "immediately retract his remarks."

"It is deeply alarming that President Duterte has extended a policy of shoot to kill, a devastating hallmark of his presidency, to law enforcement agencies in the community quarantine," Butch Olano, the Philippines section director of Amnesty International, said in a statement to The Philippine Star daily.

"Deadly, unchecked force should never be referred to as a method to respond to an emergency such as the COVID 19 pandemic," said Olano.


Global snapshot

The virus that originated in China last December has spread to at least 180 countries and regions across the world, according to the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center.

While China has largely recovered, the pandemic's epicenter has shifted to Europe, with Italy and Spain being worst-hit.

The highest number of confirmed cases, however, are in the U.S. -- more than 216,000.

In total, the virus has infected almost 952,000 people worldwide, and killed over 48,000. Some 202,000 have also recovered from the disease.

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