MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Filipinos opposed to Chinese claims in the South China Sea expressed support Thursday for the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, saying Beijing should not use force to stop the protests in the global financial hub or in resolving its territorial disputes with the Philippines.
About 50 members of the Akbayan party carried yellow umbrellas to symbolize the "fight for democracy" in Hong Kong and black ones for the China's "undemocratic practices in the region" during a picket at the Chinese consular office in the Philippine capital. Many carried placards saying "Be Strong Hong Kong" and chanted the same message.
Organizers called on Filipinos to post "selfies" showing them carrying umbrellas as a sign of support for the Hong Kong protesters' demands for universal suffrage and other electoral reforms.
Former Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan, a leader of the West Philippine Sea Coalition which has been protesting alleged Chinese incursions in seas claimed by the Philippines, said his group was also supporting the Hong Kong protesters who are "fighting for their freedom and democratic rights."
Tens of thousands of Filipinos work as domestic helpers in Hong Kong, and are a major source of foreign currency for the Philippines.