World

Philippine church bells to toll 
for 40 nights in drug war protest

MANILA: Church bells tolled across the mainly Catholic Philippines late yesterday as bishops rallied opposition to the "reign of terror" that has left thousands dead in President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war.

Police have reported killing more than 3,800 people to fulfil Mr Duterte's vow to rid the country of narcotics, with the 15-month crackdown triggering wider violence that has seen thousands of other people found dead in unexplained circumstances.

The Church said bells around the country would continue to simultaneously ring for five minutes at 8pm for 40 nights to honour the dead and remind the living that the bloodshed must stop.

"We cannot allow the destruction of lives to become normal, we cannot govern the nation by killing," Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said in a pastoral letter last week launching the campaign.

Church officials say the tolling of bells is a direct throwback to the Crusades in the Medieval Age, when Christian nations of Europe sent military expeditions to reclaim holy places in the Middle East.- AFP

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