Lumad clash with police, continue APEC protest at Liwasang Bonifacio

Bea Orante
Lumad clash with police, continue APEC protest at Liwasang Bonifacio
Reports say police officers and ROTC students tried to prevent the Lumad from reaching Liwasang Bonifacio

MANILA, Philippines – Tensions flared as the Manilakbayan protesters prepared to march to Liwasang Bonifacio from the Redemptorist Church in Baclaran on Thursday morning, November 19.

As the more than 700 Lumad and their advocates, who are protesting against the ongoing Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit and the alleged government militarization in their communities, tried to get through, members of the Philippine National Police pushed them back.

Reports on the ground said the blockade was made of two layers, the first were PNP forces and the second were ROTC students surrounding the PNP. Two buses full of police officers arrived followed by several military personnel who took up their posts. Photos also show firetrucks in front of the camp.

The Manilakbayanis had intended to leave before 7 am to arrive at the Liwasang Bonifacio at 9:30 am for the larger anti-APEC protest with other indigenous peoples’ groups from Luzon.

BLOCKED. Police forces prevent the Lumad from marching to Liwasang Bonifacio. Photo from the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao's Facebook page.

There had been police officers at the Redemptorist Church since the Lumad moved there from Liwasang Bonifacio.

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Shipping containers, trucks, and buses were also placed around the church, which the Lumad say are efforts to hide them from view. Tarpaulins were then added around the camp on November 17. (READ: Lumad protest camp hidden from view)

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Althea Amoguis, the media officer of Manilakbayan ng Mindanao, said the group had tried to negotiate with the police, but they were still not allowed to hold their march. Instead, speeches were delivered and “Junk APEC” banners attached to balloons were launched.

As of posting, the group had arrived at Liwasang Bonifacio to join other anti-APEC protesters.

Manilakbayan is a series of demonstrations against the government’s alleged human rights abuses and militarization of indigenous peoples. The protesters, who call themselves Manilakbayanis, have journeyed from their homes in Mindanao to have their voices heard. – Rappler.com

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