PROTESTERS on Monday tried to break through a ring of policemen around the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City, triggering scuffles that left injuries on both sides.
Policemen with truncheons fought off the protesters hours before President Benigno Aquino 3rd was to deliver his State of the Nation Address.
The injured rallyists were taken to the nearest police stations after being given first aid.
The injured policemen were treated at the mobile rescue clinic stationed near the area.
Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Director Chief Supt. Richard Albano said the rallyists violated their agreement to stay on the westbound bound lane of Commonwealth Avenue fronting Don Antonio Heights and Ever Gotesco Mall.
Albano said policemen observed maximum tolerance but were forced to use truncheons to drive back the protesters.
He said 15 of his men were injured, while Renato Reyes, Secretary General of Bayan Muna, said 30 protesters were injured and jailed.
As early as 7 a.m. on Monday, the protesters marched towards the police barricades on Commonwealth. They managed to get past the first line of barricades and tried to remove the concrete barriers and steel railings so that more protesters and their vehicles can pass through.
Traffic on Commonwealth snarled and many commuters got stranded because jeepney drivers stayed off their routes.
Students from the University of the Philippines in Diliman marched from Palma Hall to the Batasan to call for higher subsidy.
UP Student Council Chairman Alex Castro stressed the need for a bigger budget for education.
Student councilor Carla Gonzales said the government should also address contractualization which she said denies workers benefits and job security.
Other groups of protesters burned the President’s effigy near his house on Times Street in Quezon City.
The group is part of a caravan from Southern Tagalog denouncing Aquino’s alleged anti-poor policies and the Quezon City government’s decision to ban protests near the Batasan.
Urban poor leader Anthony Barnedo said they expected no gains for informal settlers and the poor.
“The relocations sites are uninhabitable. Most of these were constructed in haste and are structurally questionable. There is no adequate water and electricity supply and no cell phone coverage, no sewer system to speak of and the nearest school, clinic, market or church are kilometers away. But most important, there are no jobs for us to eke out a bare existence” Barnedo said.