Asia

Anger at hero's burial for Philippines dictator Marcos

Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 Image copyright AP
Image caption Ferdinand Marcos ruled the Philippines for 20 years before he was ousted

The burial of former Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the country's Heroes' Cemetery has prompted outrage from opponents.

Ousted and exiled in 1986, he died in the US in 1989. His body was brought back in 1993 and later put on display in his home city of Batac.

He is accused of torturing, abducting and killing thousands of opponents, as well as looting billions of dollars from the country.

The surprise burial angered opponents.

Planned in secret, the funeral in the capital Manila came earlier on the same day as nationwide protests against what were thought to be only plans to move the late leader's body.

Image copyright @samanthasotto

The burial is an emotive issue in the Philippines, where a large part of the country views Ferdinand Marcos' 20-year rule as emblematic of the worst abuses of power.

The country's vice-president, human rights lawyer Leni Robredo, was among the critics, flatly declaring "Marcos is no hero" on Twitter.

Activist Bonifacio Ilagan, who was tortured under Marcos, told the Associated Press news agency the former leader was being buried "like a thief in the night".

But the late leader's eldest daughter, Imee Marcos, governor of the family's home state Ilocos Norte, thanked the country's president on social media for allowing the burial to happen.

Image copyright Imee Marcos
Image caption Mr Marcos' daughter broadcast parts of the event on Facebook

President Rodrigo Duterte, who was supported by members of the Marcos family in his presidential campaign, gave permission for the burial in August, calling Marcos a "Filipino soldier".

The Philippines' Supreme Court approved the move in November.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mr Marcos' reign still divides Filipinos, decades after his death

The ceremony was described as "very simple" and "just a family affair" by Police Chief Superintendent Oscar Albayalde, who helped manage security for the event.

He said it was not a state funeral, although the late leader was given full military honours, including a 21-gun salute.

Reporters were barred from attending.

Image copyright @lenirobredo
Image caption The Philippines vice-president split with President Duterte over the burial

Marcos and his wife, Imelda, ruled the Philippines for 20 years, with the country under martial law for much of that time.

More than a million people took to the streets in 1986 to overthrow them in what became known as the People Power Revolution.

Despite this, the family later returned to the Philippines and political life, portraying the former leader's reign as a period of security, order and grand construction projects.

It is an argument that has resonated with many. His son, Ferdinand "Bong Bong" Marcos Jnr, came very close to winning the vice-presidency in May's elections.

He told the BBC his father's reputation had helped, not hindered his campaign.

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