LOS ANGELES, California – Filipino Americans denouncing China as a big bully on Friday (Saturday in Manila) accused the Chinese consulate here of harassing them by releasing toxic sewage while they held their rally in front of the consulate building.
About 50 demonstrators noticed a foul odor and traced it to sewage flowing through the street gutter at the edge of the sidewalk where they gathered to protest an escalating territorial dispute between China and the Philippines.
“Binuksan nila ang inidoro, pero tayo ba ay titigil?” asked rally leader Adrian Licaros of the US Pinoys for Good Governance. The rallyists, some covering their noses with handkerchiefs, responded by chanting “China stinks.”
Another protester, Art Garcia, said it wasn’t the first time the Chinese consulate “intentionally released sewage from their office building” during a protest action.
Garcia, a community leader representing the Justice for Filipino American Veterans and Alliance Philippines said they had a similar experience when they protested China’s claim over Kalayaan Islands in front of the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles.
The rallyists chanted protest slogans, carried placards and waved the national flag as they demanded that China pull away its ships from Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. Both China and the Philippines claim the area as their territory and, for more than a month, have had maritime patrol boats in position to defend their claim.
“We consider this encroachment on sovereignty as an invasion,” said lawyer Roman Mosqueda, president of the Filipino American Movement for Empowerment.
Mosqueda, who has a doctorate in international law from the University of Michigan, said he’d like to see the issue resolved “diplomatically, through mediation and by bringing this before the International Tribunal.”
“[China] is not going to kick us around. We are going to fight,” said Danny Lamila of the Filipino American Defense League.
Other groups participating in the afternoon rally were the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles and Bantay Pilipinas-USA.
Similar rallies were held at other Chinese embassies around the world on Friday as part of the “Global Day of Action against China’s Bullying in the West Philippine Sea.”
The Chinese government this week took a variety of actions against the Philippines, including increasing inspections of goods coming into China and ordering tour operators to suspend trips to the Philippines.