Anti-Trump rally leaves 26 hurt
A rally against US President Donald Trump in Manila on Monday ended in a clash, leaving 20 protesters and six policemen injured.
A shoving match turned into a scuffle when members of militant groups tried to push past the police barricade at the corner of Padre Faura Street and Taft Avenue around 11 a.m. Firemen deployed at the area trained their water hoses on the demonstrators who backed off.
Protesters called the activity their “biggest rally” yet against Trump, who is in the country to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit.
Carrying placards that read “Trump Go Home” and “Ban Trump #1 Terrorist,” the demonstrators also burned an effigy of Trump and President Duterte, who was accused of being subservient to American interests.
Director Oscar Albayalde of the National Capital Region Police Office called the rally a show put on by “violent” protesters.
Just for show
“It’s all for show. It’s a show,” he said, claiming that time and again, the demonstrators would always provoke policemen.
The militant groups had gathered on Taft Avenue as part of their attempt to march to Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City where the Asean Summit was being held.
After being pushed back, they settled down in front of the Supreme Court where they continued their protest.
Albayalde said they would continue to exercise maximum tolerance toward demonstrators over the duration of the Asean Summit but stressed they would not allow militant groups to reach the PICC.
The police claimed that the rallyists started the scuffle by throwing stones at their ranks when they failed to get past the barricade.
“We advised our personnel to observe maximum tolerance but we really need to do something when protesters resort to very offensive acts,” said Senior Supt. Ronald Hipolito, the head secretariat of the Asean joint task group on peace and order.
He added that they arrested one of the demonstrators who was caught in the act of throwing stones.
Karapatan, however, said the arrest of Neil Legaspi, a paralegal staffer who was driving a van behind the demonstrators, was illegal.
“He was forced out of the vehicle, his hands tightly handcuffed and his head forced down by two policemen of the Regional Public Safety Battalion,” said Karapatan secretary general Tinay Palabay, adding that they would demand his release. —With a report from Dexter Cabalza
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