‘I’d kill mil­lions of drug users’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

MANILA: Philip­pines Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte ap­peared to liken him­self to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and said he would “be happy” to ex­ter­mi­nate three mil­lion drug users and ped­dlers in the coun­try.

His com­ments trig­gered shock and anger among Jewish groups in the US, which will add to pres­sure on the US government to take a tougher line with the Philip­pines leader.

Duterte re­cently in­sulted US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and in a se­ries of re­marks he has un­der­mined the pre­vi­ously close re­la­tion­ship between Manila and Wash­ing­ton.

In a ram­bling speech on his ar­rival in Davao City after a visit to Viet­nam, Duterte told re­porters he had been “por­trayed to be a cousin of Hitler” by crit­ics.

Not­ing Hitler had mur­dered mil­lions of Jews, Duterte said: “There are three mil­lion drug ad­dicts (in the Philip­pines). I’d be happy to slaugh­ter them.

“If Ger­many had Hitler, the Philip­pines would have...,” he said, paus­ing and point­ing to him­self.

“You know my vic­tims. I would like (them) to be all crim­i­nals to fin­ish the prob­lem of my coun­try and save the next gen­er­a­tion from perdi­tion.”

Duterte was voted to power in May on the back of a vow to end drugs and cor­rup­tion in the coun­try of 100 mil­lion peo­ple. He took of­fice on June 30 and over 3 100 peo­ple have been killed since then, mostly al­leged drug users and deal­ers, by po­lice and vig­i­lantes.

His com­ments were quickly con­demned by Jewish groups. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, head of the Si­mon Wiesen­thal Cen­ter’s Dig­i­tal Ter­ror­ism and Hate project, called them “out­ra­geous”.

“Duterte owes the vic­tims (of the Holo­caust) an apol­ogy for his dis­gust­ing rhetoric.” – Reuters

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