Filipinos protest as Arroyo visits

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 March, 2008, 12:00am

More than 1,000 Filipino protesters called for Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to step down as she arrived in Hong Kong yesterday for a three-day visit.

The protesters, mostly domestic workers, gathered near the Immigration Department building in Wan Chai and in the afternoon moved to the Grand Hyatt Hotel, where Mrs Arroyo is staying, chanting slogans and waving banners urging her to resign as president.

Eman Villanueva, secretary general of United Filipinos in Hong Kong, said Mrs Arroyo's administration was the 'most corrupt government' in Philippine history.

'She is not welcome here,' Mr Villanueva said.

'Many people in the Philippines are suffering from hunger because of serious rice shortages, but their president is now living in a luxury hotel like the Grand Hyatt with dozens of followers.'

He said hundreds of political dissidents, human-rights activists and church leaders had been killed or abducted since Mrs Arroyo came to power in 2001. 'A big-time crook like her has no place in Hong Kong.'

Mrs Arroyo will address the 11th Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference today, and meet businesspeople and representatives of the Filipino community.