Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has told his country’s police officers they should kill “idiots” who try to resist arrest.
The controversial leader was speaking in the Philippines capital, Manila, as he faces pressure over his tough approach to drugs. Thousands of people have been killed in a nation-wide crackdown on drug users since he took office in June 2016.
Going off-topic during a prepared speech at the Heroes’ Cemetery, Mr Duterte addressed Jovie Espenido, the police chief of a town whose mayor was killed in an anti-drugs raid.
"Your duty requires you to overcome the resistance of the person you are arresting... if he resists, and it is a violent one... you are free to kill the idiots, that is my order to you," he told the officer.
He added that “murder and homicide and unlawful killings” were not allowed, however.
It comes days after more than 1,000 people joined a protest opposing Mr Duterte’s drugs policy.
The demonstration began as crowds including nuns, priests and hundreds of children joined the funeral procession of Kian Loyd delos Santos, a 17-year-old schoolboy who was shot dead by anti-drugs officers earlier in August.
Mr Duterte met the boy’s parents at the presidential palace on Monday to assure them there will be a thorough investigation into their son’s death.
Delos Santos’ mother, Lorenza, later said the President had assured them he “would not allow those who have committed wrong to go unpunished”.
Witnesses say the 17-year-old was dragged into an alley in Manila by policeman and shot in the head before being dumped next to a pigsty. CCTV appears to corroborate their accounts.
Police say they acted in self-defence after the teenager opened fire on them.
The UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, described the killing as “murder”, prompting Mr Duterte to label her a “son of a bitch” and “stupid”.
“She should not threaten me,” he added.
Mr Duterte’s hardline drug policy has been widely criticised by the international community but was part of a campaign promise to crack down on crime and drugs.
He dismissed the criticism earlier in the year, saying he did not “give a sh*t”.
“I do not care about what the human rights guys say,” he said. “I have a duty to preserve the [next] generation. If it involves human rights, I don’t give a sh*t.”
Additional reporting by agencies.
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