Leftwing activists clash with police
MANILA, Philippines—Policemen armed with shields, truncheon, and water cannons clashed with thousands of leftwing activists Monday who tried to march towards the Batasang Pambansa to show disgust over the fifth State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Benigno Aquino III.
The police force blocked the activists near the Ever Gotesco Mall along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City who tried to destroy the barricades with barbed wires, which resulted
to a clash.
Before trying to head to Batasan Pambansa, the militants set up a make shift stage and held a program.
But the police forces in full battle gear responded through firing water cannon at the protesters.
The flag-waiving activist continued with their resistance but failed to pass through the barricades.
Senior Inspector Maricar Taqueban Public Information Officer of the Quezon City Police District said 3,700 police were deployed along Commonwealth Avenue, Sandiganbayan and at the Batasang Pambansa to block the protesters.
But in Metro Manila, the Philippine National Police (PNP) deployed 10,000 policemen to secure the Sona of Aquino,she said.
Renato Reyes, Secretary General of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said they “strongly condemn the multiple use of water cannons” against the protesters.
Reyes said the militants showed no threat to the police but they still used water cannons.
“We don’t want to accept this. What we did was an act of resistance. There was no threat,” he said, citing the police responded violently and violated laws.
He said around 17,000 militants from Metro Manila,Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog joined the rally but was stopped by police near the Ever Gotesco Mall, few kilometers away from Batasang Pambansa.
He said initial reports showed that three of the protesters were injured during the rally while two others were arrested by the police.
According to the Commission on Human Rights, the police violated human rights when they sprayed water cannons at the protesters.
Reyes said they would consult their lawyers regarding this.
According to him, they will pursue the impeachment complaint against President Aquino.
“We are ever determined to pursue his removal from office,” he said.
Aquino on Monday afternoon delivered his fifth Sona at the Batasang Pambansa hours after the graft-tainted Congress opened its second regular session.
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