When martial law was declared in the Philippine city of Mindanao on July 1, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial laws, in which the military will be able to take control of police, army and the military.
The declaration comes as tensions in the country have been rising.
“I declare martial law to stop the threat of terrorism and drug syndicates and drug lords from infiltrating our country,” Duterte said in a televised address.
The move was met with widespread condemnation, and many protesters gathered in the streets, chanting “No, no, no.
It’s martial law!”
“The people of Mindao will rise up and defend our country.
Martial law has to be declared,” said Jose Lourdes Rodriguez, the spokesperson for the Philippine National Police.
“It’s a declaration of martial law and the law of the land.
Martial is not martial law.
It is a declaration.”
Duterte’s declaration was met by anger from protesters.
“No martial law, martial law is a lie.
This is a sham.
This can’t happen,” said Oscar Tanden, a protester.
“We will not submit to this, we will not allow this,” said another protester.
Police deployed tear gas to disperse protesters.
Duterte later issued a statement saying martial law will be lifted on July 31.
“A military coup d’etat has been declared in Mindanaopan province,” the president said.
“The President has declared martial to be lifted.
Mindanaon will be back to normal as soon as possible,” he added.
However, the declaration has been met with anger from the opposition, who are demanding the removal of the president.
“What the military has done is illegal and unconstitutional,” said Juan Carlos, the president of the National Alliance Party (NAP).
“They should be prosecuted and jailed.
What they are doing is unconstitutional,” he told Al Jazeera.
“There’s no place for martial law,” said Sen. Leila de Lima, the chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights.
“When they declare martial, what are they going to do?” asked NAP senator Risa Hontiveros.
“This is a military coup.
They are invading and taking over.
They will not get away with this.
They have declared martial,” she added.
The government has blamed the protests on a “militias” and “terrorists” in the Muslim-majority Philippines.
Many protesters in Mindan, the region of Mindan island, have accused the government of failing to deal with the rising drug-related crime.
“Militias are infiltrating Mindanaoan communities.
They steal our land and sell it,” said Rizal, a 70-year-old farmer in Mindans town of Saguig, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“They are stealing our water.
They’re stealing our land.
We need to protect our land from them.
They should be arrested,” he said.