1 million Iglesia protesters? No way—police
The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) will not be able to squeeze one million members in the protest area given them on Edsa in Mandaluyong City, a police official said Sunday morning.
Eastern Police District director Senior Supt. Elmer Jamias said the current permit to assemble given by Mandaluyong City to INC members at the intersection of Edsa and Shaw Boulevard measured only 1,200 square meters. At four persons per square meter, Jamias said the area could accommodate at most 4,800 individuals.
Jamias was reacting to pronouncements by leaders of the sect that they were expecting the number of protesters to balloon to 1 million, with more INC members coming from the Bicol region, Nueva Ecija, Quezon, Zambales, Batangas and Pangasinan provinces.
The INC protest, which stemmed from Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s supposed “extraordinary attention” given to the illegal detention, harassment and coercion charges filed by expelled minister Isaias Samson Jr. on Tuesday, is now on its fourth day.
The protesters earlier had their rally in front of the Department of Justice office along Padre Faura Street, where Manila City Hall allowed them to stay till Sept. 4.
Mandaluyong public information office head Jimmy Isidro told the Inquirer over the phone that they didn’t know if the INC would file an extension of their rally permit, which is effective till midnight Sunday.
Jamias said that City Hall reject any extension and the INC insists on pushing through with their rally, they would they would just have to negotiate for a peaceful dispersal.
As of 11 p.m., the National Capital Region Police Office estimated the crowd at Edsa Crossing to be at around 1,000.
Some of the protesters who stayed for the night slept in tents. A mobile phone charging station has also been set up for the use of INC members. Jovic Yee/Philippine Daily Inquirer
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