MANILA, Philippines – An anti-government rally held outside the private residence of President Benigno Aquino III in Quezon City ended violently, leaving 12 policemen and 7 protesters hurt.
Police said on Saturday, November 29, that Antonio Flores, the leader of the protesters from militant group Manilakbayan, was arrested and detained at Camp Karingal, and will be charged with serious physical injury, direct assault against an agency or persons in authority, and illegal assembly.
Quezon City police chief Senior Superintendent Joel Pagdilao said that around 250 protesters from militant group Manilakbayan gathered in front of the Aquino residence at Times Street at 9:20 am on Saturday, calling for peace and food in Mindanao.
The group, which held a banner seeking the President's ouster, was allowed to hold their program despite their failure to secure a permit. An initial 50 policemen were deployed to the rally.
Pagdilao said the protest turned violent as the program wrapped up.
"Nung paalis na sila, bigla silang nagpintura sa kalsada gamit pulang pinta. Inawat sila ng mga pulis kaso ayaw nila magpa-awat. Nagsimula sila mambato (When they were about to leave, the protesters suddenly painted the street with red paint. The policemen tried to stop them but they wouldn't stop. They started throwing rocks)," the QC police chief said.
The police said the group also painted red the gate of a private home in the neighborhood.
The group Southern Tagalog Exposure had a different version of the story. It claimed that the police initiated the clash.
"Pagkatapos ng mapayapang programa sa Times St, bigla na lamang namalo ang mga pulis. Hinabol nila ng pamalo ang mga delegado ng Manilakbayan (After the program, police started hitting and running after the protesters)," Southern Tagalog Exposure posted on Facebook.
Pagdilao said 12 policemen were injured, two of whom had to seek medical treatment. The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines Northern Mindanao Sub-Region said in its Facebook post that 7 protesters were injured, including Jaypee Agbiag of Karapatan North Cotabato who was allegedly hit on the neck and is under observation at the East Avenue Medical Center. – Rappler.com
Raisa Serafica is the Unit Head of Civic Engagement of Rappler. As the head of MovePH, Raisa leads the on ground engagements of Rappler aimed at building a strong community of action in the Philippines. Through her current and previous roles at Rappler, she has worked with different government agencies, collaborated with non-governmental organizations, and trained individuals mostly on using digital technologies for social good.