Lightning rally mars 1st day of Balikatan 2023


Posted at Apr 11 2023 08:44 AM

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Youth groups led by members of the League of Filipino Students held a lightning rally in front of the US Embassy Monday night ahead of an annual bilateral exercise between US and Filipino troops. 

Holding signs that said "No to US Bases", the students were holding a street demonstration on Roxas Boulevard for about 10 minutes when police arrived and started arresting some of the protesters. At least 2 students were arrested, an ANC report said. 

More than 17,600 members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the U.S. military will participate in Balikatan 2023, an annual bilateral exercise between the two allies from April 11 to 28.

Activist groups have warned of increased tensions between China and the US after Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced the location of 4 additional military bases that American soldiers can use under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

Marcos has said the Philippines will not allow its military bases to be used for any offensive attacks.