MORE than 20 members of militant groups were injured in a clash with anti-riot police in Manila on Monday, the opening of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit.
“More than 20 were injured at the Manila protest against [US President Donald] Trump. Police used water cannons on protesters. One activist was arrested. We condemn in the strongest terms the state fascism that has been imposed on Filipino protesters. The protests are justified. Trump is an enemy of the people,” BayanMuna leader Renato Reyes said in a statement addressed to Metro Manila Police Chief Oscar Albayalde.
The injured were not identified. Aside from Bayan Muna, also present were members of Gabriela, Anakpawis, Migrante, Kilusang Mayo Uno, and Katutubo.
The melee erupted at about 8 a.m. as members of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) used water canons against the anti-Trump rallyists who tried to get past the phalanx of lawmen who were in full battle gear morning along Padre Faura Street near the US embassy on Roxas Boulevard.
Albayalde, for his part, assured Reyes that his men would enforce maximum tolerance.
The rally was made colorful with the protesters displaying an effigy of Trump and President Rodrigo Duterte.
Another protest rally was staged near Buendia Avenue and Roxas Boulevard, the closest to the the World Trade Center and the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City where the Asean meetings were being held.
Earlier on Monday, Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa said on that the PNP was keeping watch on protesters at the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit, as it has not monitored any terror threat.
“So far, we have not monitored any terrorist threat in our activities there in Asean [Summit],” de la Rosa said in a speech during the flag ceremony.
De la Rosa said only Asean protesters had been monitored.
“The [rallyists]are the ones we should monitor so that we could smooth out and prevent them from entering places of engagement in Asean,” de la Rosa said.
De la Rosa made it clear that the number of policemen assigned to each regional office in the country had been downsized.
“You must take note that the reinforcements that came from the regions are downsized. We required them to give 1,200 to 1,300 cops. They only sent 300 to 600,” de la Rosa said.
“Our preparations [for the Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) units]were downsized. If worse comes to worst, you must be ready to join the CDM if needed,” de la Rosa told reserve policemen.
De la Rosa said although police were on “full alert”, there may be a need to deploy the reserves in lockdown areas. JAIME PILAPIL, RJ CARBONELL
Riot policemen and protesters clash as they try to march to the Asean Summit venue during the 31st Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Manila on Monday, November 13, 2017. AFP PHOTOS