Groups allege 'harassment' by police ahead of Edsa anniv rites

Groups allege ‘harassment’ by police ahead of Edsa anniversary rites

/ 02:15 PM February 25, 2024

Edsa Shrine-022524

A front view of the Edsa Shrine’s calm facade taken an hour before scheduled protests on February 25, 2024 at the historic site for the commemoration of the 38th People Power anniversary. Photo by Zeus Legaspi/INQUIRER PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Several activist groups participating in the protests against Charter change (Cha-cha) on Sunday condemned what they said were “harassment” from police, saying they were stopped at checkpoints and prevented from joining the scheduled protests.

The protests against Cha-cha coincides with the 38th anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution.


READ: February 25, Edsa People Power Anniversary, not a holiday in 2024


Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said that activists in Laguna and Cavite, who were supposed to enter Metro Manila to take part in the protests, were blocked at checkpoints.

“The police checkpoints were installed to harass activists, conduct illegal surveillance, and discourage people from joining the scheduled protests today,” Bayan’s Secretary General, Mong Palatino said in a statement.

“They are a public nuisance, a waste of government resources, and a clear sign of police intolerance against any form of dissent,” he added.

In a post on social media, Bayan-Timog Katagalugan (Southern Tagalog) said that jeepneys ferrying activists in Los Baños and Sta. Rosa in Laguna, and Bacoor City in Cavite were held at checkpoints for over five hours.

“In summary, 18 jeepneys ferrying 350 delegates were blocked in the entire Southern Tagalog. This is a clear systematic violation of our right to organize and express,” it said in a post on Facebook.

Meanwhile, militant fishers’ group Pamalakaya and transport group Piston confirmed to in a text message that their delegates to the anti-Cha-cha protests from Southern Tagalog were also blocked at checkpoints.

“At least two vehicles of Pamalakaya-Cavite were held by the Bacoor City police this morning, confiscating the licenses and other documents for allegedly violating traffic rules,” Pamalakaya said in a separate statement.

Bayan’s statement also said that activists in Iloilo were also prevented from joining the protests as part of the commemoration of the Edsa revolution.

Previously, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said that it will deploy 8,500 officers across the country to maintain security during activities related to the 38th anniversary of the People Power Revolution.

READ: 8,500 cops to secure People Power anniversary rites nationwide

The PNP said that 2,500 of these officers will be deployed in Cebu while 6,000 will be deployed in Manila.

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Bayan President Renato Reyes Jr., took a swipe at the PNP’s alleged harassment of activists on Sunday, saying in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that they are “afraid of People Power.” reached out to the PNP for their reaction on the groups’ allegations but they are yet to respond as of posting time.

TAGS: Cha-cha, Edsa, People power

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