Protesters mass near Congress ahead of Aquino’s speech


07:07 AM July 23rd, 2012

By: Frances Mangosing, Jamie Marie Elona, July 23rd, 2012 07:07 AM

Protesters gather Monday, July 23, 2012, near the Ever Gotesco mall near the Batasan Pambansa along Commonwealth Avenue where President Benigno Aquino III will deliver his state of the nation address later in the day. NOY MORCOSO III/

MANILA, Philippines — Protesters from several militant groups arrived near Ever Gotesco along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City Monday morning, a few hours before President Benigno Aquino delivers his State of the Nation Address before Congress.

The protesters marched from Old Balara, Quezon City to Ever Gotesco, or about three kilometers from Batasang Pambansa.

The rallyists were decrying “worsening human rights violations, poverty, unemployment, depressed wages, absence of genuine land reform, demolition of houses, destructive large-scale mining, privatization of social services and the US violations of sovereignty.”

Meanwhile, Quezon City Police Director Superintendent Mario dela Vega estimated the early protesters at 300.

The police set up near Saint Peter’s Chapel 10p.m. Sunday.

He added that 3,000 police were deployed along the periphery of Batasan, and would exercise maximum tolerance towards protesters.

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