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Activists press for release of arrested martial law protesters

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Activists press for release of arrested martial law protesters

/ 07:13 PM July 22, 2017
Youth activists outside Camp Karingal - 22 July 2017

Youth activists gather at Camp Karingal in Quezon City on Saturday, July 22, 2017, to demand the release of eight of their colleagues who were arrested after they staged a lighting rally during the special joint session of Congress to decide on the extension of martial law in Mindanao. (Photo from the Facebook account of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines)

Over 60 youth activists trooped on Saturday afternoon to the Quezon City Police District headquarters in Camp Karingal in Quezon City to condemn the extension of martial law in Mindanao.

Led by militant group Kabataan, the rallyists also called for the release of the eight youth leaders who were arrested after their lightning rally during the Congress joint session at the House of Representatives, which overwhelmingly approved the martial law extension.

The protesters chanted: “Never again, never again, never again to martial law.” They held up placards as Camp Karingal closed its tall gates. Rows of policemen prevented them from coming close.

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Einstein Recedes, Anakbayan secretary general, said the youth leaders should be freed, since they were only using their freedom to express their disapproval of the military rule.

He noted that if the youth leaders brought banners in support of martial law instead, they would not have been be escorted out of the plenary hall and arrested.

As of this posting, the eight rallyists had been taken to the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office to undergo inquest proceedings. They face charges for violation of Article 144 of the Revised Penal Code, or disturbance of proceedings.

The arrested activists included three volunteer teachers of Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (Alcadev), an alternative learning system for Lumad and indigenous youth in Mindanao.

The arrested Alcadev teachers are Chad Booc, Kenneth Cadiang, and Yasser Gutierrez. Also arrested were University of the Philippines students Almira Abril, Renz Pasigpasigan, and Michael Villanueva; De La Salle University student Vince Simon, and Polytechnic University of the Philippines student JP Rosos.

Caren Tupal, another volunteer teacher under Save Our Schools network, decried how they had been continuously branded as “enemies of the state,” despite only volunteering in lumad schools to fill in the need for more educators in the provinces.

“You call what they did as disturbance, but what the military troops are doing to our lumad communities is the real disturbance,” she said.

“Lumad are forced to evacuate, and the education of Lumad youth is disrupted,” she added. “Lumad are also being killed.” /atm

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TAGS: Kabataan, Kabataan 8, Marawi siege, Mindanao martial law
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