By JP LOPEZ : November 14, 2017
SIX cops and at least 50 protesters were hurt when anti-US activists and anti-riot policemen figured in a brief skirmish on Padre Faura St. in Manila yesterday.
Members of militant groups affiliated with Bayan wanted to hold a rally in front of the Philippine International Convention Center to denounce the visit of US President Donald Trump for the Asean Summit but were blocked by two trucks deployed by police.
Cops armed with shields and batons prevented protesters from proceeding to the PICC but the protesters tried to break the police line. Water cannons were used to disperse the protesters, who threw bottles, stones, pieces of wood and even slippers at the police line.
NCRPO chief Oscar Albayalde said at least six policemen were taken to a nearby hospital due to injuries sustained during the clash. He said some policemen were treated for minor bruises by the PNP medical team.
Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes claimed 56 protesters sustained injuries, four of them seriously.
Albayalde said policemen were instructed to exercise “maximum tolerance.”
Police estimated the number of protesters at around 1,500 while rally organizers claimed at least 10,000 joined the rally.
The demonstrators, carrying a 30-foot effigy of Trump, proceeded to LiwasangBonifacio to continue with their program.
An activist group immediately denounced what it said was the “violent dispersal of the rally.”
In a statement, Ed Tadem, convenor of the Asean Civil Society Conference, said. “We condemn the violent dispersal of a peaceful demonstration by people’s organizations and social movements against the Asean Summit and East Asia Summit as represented by heads of states and governments that have imposed on the peoples of Southeast Asia a development model that has increased social inequalities and violated the human rights of the people.”
The Asean Committee on Security, Peace and Order, and Emergency Preparedness and Response yesterday said that foreigners who participate in any protest action or political undertaking during the ongoing summit will face immediate deportation.
Interior Department officer in charge CatalinoCuy, also the CSPOEPR chairperson, said foreign tourists are expected to abide by the laws of the nation and not participate in any activity that might cause disruption to the conduct of the summit.
“If our foreign friends are seen disrupting the summit or engaging in any political activity, we have no choice but to deport them,” Cuy said.
“You are our guests and we will accord you with hospitality and generosity. However, you are expected to give us the same respect that we give you by following our laws while you are visiting our country,” he added.
PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa also reminded police personnel not assigned to the Asean summit to secure their respective camps and be ready for deployment once the need arises.
He said cops on standby should monitor the situation on radio or television so they will know what to do during emergency cases. – With Raymond Africa
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