Trump in Philippines: President hails 'red carpet like nobody has ever received' while Manila protesters burn effigy of him

Billionaire in final stages of Asia tour designed to push 'fair' trade for US and put pressure on North Korea

Jon Sharman
Monday 13 November 2017 10:29
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Protesters burn Donald Trump effigy in the Philippines

Protesters in Manila burned a swastika-shaped effigy of Donald Trump as the US President arrived in the Philippines for trade talks.

The sight of the spinning four-armed construction – holding a bag of cash, a handgun, a nuclear bomb and a bulldozer’s scoop – contrasted with the “red carpet” welcome Mr Trump said he had received from governments throughout Asia.

The billionaire is now in the closing stages of a tour of the region designed to push his agenda on trade that is “fair” to the US, and to shore up opposition to North Korea‘s threatening behaviour.

He said the trip had been “very fruitful” for the US and added: “It was red carpet like nobody, I think, has probably ever received.

“And that really is a sign of respect, perhaps for me a little, but really for our county. And I’m really proud of that.”

He was in the Philippines for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and related meetings.

Police used water cannon to keep hundreds of protesters away from the US embassy before his arrival.

Demonstrators carried signs reading “Dump Trump” and “Down with US imperialism” but were blocked by riot police.

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Conversely, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received a hero’s welcome as he bantered with customers at a fast food restaurant.

The 45-year-old visited chain giant Jollibee’s where his support among the public appeared as strong as it was two years prior when he was voted the most attractive politician at the APEC summit – a key point in his rise as a global figure.

Environmental critics reportedly expressed “utter dismay”, however, at his failure to resolve a dispute over the shipping of 50 containers of waste to the Philippines in 2013.

Mr Trump’s visit to Manila was being watched closely for mentions of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte‘s human rights record.

The strongman leader has overseen a brutal anti-drugs crackdown that has left thousands dead since his election.

When a reporter asked Mr Trump if he would raise human rights at the meeting, Mr Duterte said: “Whoa, whoa. This is not a press statement. This is the bilateral meeting.”

A Philippines government spokesman later said human rights were not raised, though White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the topic was mentioned briefly.

“The conversation focused on Isis, illegal drugs, and trade. Human rights briefly came up in the context of the Philippines’ fight against illegal drugs.”

Mr Trump was criticised in May for praising Mr Duterte during a phone call for the “great job” he was doing to counter illegal narcotics.

Additional reporting by agencies

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