Protestors wore masks representing eight foreign autocrats including: Putin (Russia), Erdogan (Turkey), Duterte (Philippines), Kim (North Korea), Orban (Hungary), bin Salman (Saudi Arabia), bin Zayed (UAE) and Bolsonaro (Brazil). Each autocrat figure held a puppet of Donald Trump, representing autocrats being able to manipulate Trump for their benefit.
Maurese Oteyza-Owens of Movement for a Free Philippines (MFP) told the rally: “Duterte campaigned on a promise to kill hundreds of thousands of drug law violators, and began a massive campaign of extrajudicial killings in 2016.” More than 30,000 have been killed according to human rights advocates in the Philippines.
Oteyza-Owens called for the release of political prisoner Philippine Senator Leila de Lima and the end of persecution of Rappler publisher Maria Ressa, news media persons and political opponents.
“The world now knows that Duterte, Putin, Kim Jung Un and Trump are mutual admiration buddies. Duterte has publicly called for Trump’s reelection since February,” Oteyza-Owens said. She urged her audience to elect former Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris “to end the Trump nightmare in America.”
Trump had paid more than $156,000 in taxes to the Duterte government in 2017 and received more than $3 Million from his Filipino business partner Jose Antonio for their 57-story condominium project in Manila. Duterte appointed Antonio as his special envoy to the U.S. According to his federal IRS returns, Trump only paid $750 in taxes to his own government in 2017.
“The Philippines under Duterte has been the world’s premiere laboratory for authoritarian demonization and social media manipulation to advance their goals. Duterte is following in the footsteps of his idol dictator Ferdinand Marcos,” according to long-time Filipino community advocate Eric Lachica, also of the MFP. “Sadly, Duterte has sold out Philippine territorial sovereignty to his other idol Xi Jinping and thus undermined U.S. and Philippine national security interests,”
Campaign founder David Borden told the rally: “These autocrats all have in common their relationships with Donald Trump, who despite his ability to corrupt the norms and institutions of our own country, is weak on the world stage.” Borden said the campaign calls for “heightened international action for human rights,” supports “laws like the Global Magnitsky Act, that hold rights abusing officials accountable without harming their peoples’ economies,” and “calls for an immediate end to the Trump administration’s sanctions against the International Criminal Court and its staff.”
The Autocrat Fair was co-organized by Movement for a Free Philippines; and StoptheDrugWar.org (led by Borden), which has advocated since 2017 for a stop to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s extrajudicial drug war killings. The Stand with Human Rights and Democracy campaign also released a video entitled Trump and Duterte – Allies in Violence, that can be seen online. It highlights Duterte talking about his drug war killings, Trump encouraging violence, and the connection between the two.
Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland released a statement for the rally, which said: “President Duterte is one of many authoritarians – from Bolsonaro in Brazil, Erdogan in Turkey, Mohammed Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia and Putin in Russia – who are exploiting the global pandemic crisis to violate human rights, attack democracy, consolidate executive power, and criminalize basic freedoms of speech and assembly…President Trump and his Administration have cozied up to all these bullies and enemies of freedom and democracy while turning a blind eye to victims of their violence and tyranny.” The statement also highlights Raskin’s co-sponsorship of the Philippines Human Rights Act of 2020.