Albayalde: Anti-riot cops intentionally deployed away from protesters
In lieu of container vans and barbed wires, anti-riot policemen were kept a good distance from protesters to make sure no clashes happen.
According to National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Oscar Albayalde the civil disturbance management (CDM) personnel were posted “far enough so that the protesters will not see them.”
Albayalde told the Inquirer that the reason for the move is “so as not to intimidate them (protesters).” He was referring to participants in the “End Tyranny” mass actions in different parts of Manila on Thursday.
The only area where the CDM contingents were not “hidden from view” is at the United States Embassy which is a “no-rally zone.”
He said that the anti-riot policemen were posted near the embassy that has always been the site of anti-US protests most of which ended in violent dispersals.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) was on full alert for the national day of protest “to ensure the safe and orderly conduct of mass action and protest rallies.”
By 4 p.m., an hour after the start of the activities at the Rizal Park, Albayalde assessed the protests to be generally peaceful.
The NCRPO chief went as far as to join the region’s bike group, riding his motorcycle around Manila to personally ensure the effective deployment of police personnel.
Based on NCRPO estimates, 7,000 Duterte supporters were at the Plaza Miranda while 3,000 were at the Don Chino Roces Bridge. This was opposed to only 5,000 protesters also at the bridge, a stone’s throw away from Malacanang. /jpv
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.