Filipino protesters denounce China's 'bullying'

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Protesters thrust mock missiles towards the Chinese Consulate at the financial district of Makati city, east of Manila, Philippines Thursday, July 24, 2014, in simultaneous protests at Chinese Embassies and consular offices around the world. Various civil society groups, led by former Congressman Roilo Golez, trooped to the Chinese Consulate to renew their calls against China's "bullying" of their neighbor-claimants of the disputed islands in the South China Sea.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — About 100 Filipinos carrying mock missiles marched Thursday to the Chinese consulate in Manila to protest China's actions in asserting its territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Carrying placards that read "Our Soil, Our Oil" and carton missiles stamped "From Philippines with Love," the activists said similar protests were being held in front of Chinese embassies and consulates abroad.

"This protest rally is just the start of something much bigger not only in the Philippines but worldwide in order to tell the world what is happening in our backyard — the bullying that's being done by our big neighbor," said former National Security Adviser Roilo Golez, one of the rally leaders.

Former Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan III criticized China's "belligerent and blatant disregard of international laws" and urged Beijing "to respect the rule of law and be a good neighbor."

The Philippines and Vietnam are embroiled in territorial rows with China over the South China Sea, where China claims most of the heavily traveled waterway and barren islands, reefs and atolls that are believed to be atop oil and natural gas deposits. Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan also have claims in the area.

The Philippines is asking an international tribunal to decide the legality of China's massive territorial claims quickly as the disputes continue to escalate.