Sunday 25 February 2018

Revolt in Philippines after teen 'shot dead by police'

Protesters hold placards and light candles at the wake of Kian Loyd delos Santos, a 17-year-old high school student, who was among the people shot dead last week in an escalation of President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, in Caloocan city, Metro Manila, Philippines. Photo: REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Protesters hold placards and light candles at the wake of Kian Loyd delos Santos, a 17-year-old high school student, who was among the people shot dead last week in an escalation of President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, in Caloocan city, Metro Manila, Philippines. Photo: REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Nicola Smith

A horrifying image of a schoolboy being dragged to a violent death in a dirty alleyway has galvanised the Philippines against a brutal state-led war on drugs that has killed more than 12,500 people in the last year.

For a nation now largely immune to the bloodied corpses of alleged small-time drug users and dealers dumped on the streets, the graphic reports of the final moments of Kian Delos Santos (17), who was allegedly shot three times by undercover police officers, have been too much to bear.

His killing last week has united the public, senior politicians and the Catholic Church into the most significant sweep of mass protests since President Rodrigo Duterte pushed for a savage crackdown on drugs after his election last June.

Most of the 12,500 casualties have been killed by masked assassins. An estimated 3,500 have been killed in police shoot-outs, which officers often claim were self-defence.

In the case of the teenager, the police initially claimed he had fired first.

But their story was contradicted by witnesses and CCTV footage that showed him being dragged down alleyways into a dead-end corner where he was asked to run with a gun, and shot when he did.

He was heard screaming: "Please can I go home, I have school tomorrow."

He is one of 81 people killed last week during mass police raids in what was the bloodiest period of the drugs war so far. His bullet-ridden, semi-naked body was found in a foetal position, with a gun in his hand.

Speaking to Rappler news, his parents, Saldy and Lorenza, said he was a well-behaved teenager who loved watching YouTube and who helped with the family shop. His only vice was eating cheese-flavoured crisps.

On the night he died, his father gave him a prescient warning to come home early. "You know how it is on our street, it could be dangerous," Saldy said. (© Daily Telegraph London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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