LOOK: Families of drug war victims stage 'Pietà'
MANILA, Philippines – Families of victims of the bloody government campaign against illegal drugs on Friday, September 7, interpreted Michelangelo's Pietà to dramatize their call for justice.
The iconic Renaissance sculpture shows Mother Mary cradling the lifeless body of her son, Jesus Christ – a scene that had been unwittingly repeated in crime scenes where grieving family members hold their loved ones killed in drug operations.
In a statement, the Rise Up for Life and For Rights group said the tableau depicts and dramatizes the “loss, grief, and rising” of families of the victims.
“Killings continue in the communities, justice are denied to victims and critics and human rights advocates face more persecution,” the group said.
Duterte's war on drugs has been widely criticized for its rising death toll. At least 4,540 suspected drug personalities have been shot dead in police anti-drug operations while human rights organizations pegged the number to reach more than 20,000, including those killed by vigilantes. (READ: The Impunity Series)
The Black Friday protest comes a week after the families lodged a complaint against Duterte before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In a 50-page complaint addressed to ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, the families "call for an end to madness and for President Duterte, who has likened himself to one of the most evil men in history, to be brought before the ICC and be held to account for crimes against humanity."
Duterte ordered the Philippines' withdrawal from the ICC in March but this is being contested before the Supreme Court. – Rappler.com