02/11/2009, 00.00
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Two fishermen killed demonstrating in defence of their fishing turf

The World Forum of Fisher People expresses solidarity to the victims and their families, calls on Filipino President Arroyo to get to the bottom of the matter and have the guilty arrested.
Colombo (AsiaNews) – The World Forum of Fisher People (WFFP) has come out with expressions of solidarity for Wilfredo Gonzales and Noli de Castro, two fishermen who were killed, and their families, calling on the authorities to conduct a quick and open inquiry into the matter.

The two men, both members of Pamalakaya, a fisher people defence organisation involved in the process of assigning 2,000 lots of land along the coast, were shot dead last Saturday in cold blood inside a van in Calatagan (Batangas province), south of Manila,. According to police, the gunmen then fled on a motorcycle.

In its condemnation of the act the WFFP joined the Filipino fishermen association in its demand that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo have the culprits arrested, provide compensation to the victims’ families and ensure the safety of civilians who demonstrate in defence of their rights.

Fr Thomas Kocherry, an Indian priest who is a permanent observer to the WFFP, said the murder of the two fishermen was the last straw.

WFFP Coordinator Naseegh Jaffer said that the assassination “appears to be deliberate and calculated,” a “cold-blooded attempt to stop fisher folk in their just efforts to fight for a better life.” (MMP)

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