Activists, elected officials call for justice in the shooting of a human rights defender in the Philippines

SAN FRANCISCO — Many supporters of Brandon Lee are long-time friends who are angry and upset, that his life hangs in the balance — because they say he was a target of an extra-judicial assassination attempt by the Duterte regime.

Early Tuesday morning, 37-year-old Lee was shot multiple times in the Ifugao province in Northern Philippines, where he had been living since 2010 with his wife and young kid, and working as a paralegal for the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance.

The Chinese-American, originally from the Bay Area, is now in critical condition in the Philippines, following four gunshots to his back and spine early Tuesday morning.

San Francisco Supervisor Gordon mar said lee is the first U.S. citizen believed to be the target of an extra-judicial assassination attempt by the administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Now — at this rally in front of San Francisco city hall — elected leaders and the Filipino and Chinese American community are organizing to in solidarity with Lee.

In recent years, lee has been red-tagged by the Philippine military, accusing him of being a member of the Philippine rebel group — the New People’s army.

In a 2015 interview, ABS-CBN News asked Lee about these claims.

“These allegations are false. I think it deliberately means to silence the community work we do and at the same time it attempts to condition the minds of the people to legitimize surveillance which leads to human rights violations.”

Many of Lee’s friends at this rally were classmates and friends from San Francisco State University.

His friends say lee is the Philippines to help the most vulnerable communities — specifically to protect the land rights of indigenous people in the Cordilleras.

They say the shootings and killings of human rights defenders must stop under the Duterte administration.

According to friends, Lee suffered multiple cardiac arrests during his surgery.

He was able to come out of his coma but is still in critical condition.

A GoFundMe has been set up by his friends based in the U.S. to help pay for his medical bills and recovery.

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