A BRIEF scuffle broke out between protesters and anti-riot squads near the United States Embassy in Manila on Friday after the rallyists tried to penetrate the phalanx of policemen who stood between them and the object of their anger. No one was reported hurt in the incident.
The protest was held days before the Association of Southeast Asian (Asean) Summit, which US President Donald Trump was scheduled to attend.
Led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), militants gathered along Mabini Street at the corner of United Nations Avenue where they aired their protest against Trump’s “gunboat diplomacy”.
Bayan spokesman Teddy Casiño said the rallyists condemned Trump’s alleged “show of force” with the three- aircraft carrier Naval drill set to coincide with the visit of the US leader.
The US 7th Fleet will hold four-day exercises starting this Saturday, November 11, a day before Trump’s arrival. The USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz, and USS Theodore Roosevelt and their strike groups will conduct the drills to be held on the Sea of Japan, near the Korean Peninsula.
This was after Trump slammed the “aggression” being displayed by North Korea, which has been conducting missile tests despite worldwide protests — a position shared by the Philippines and other Asean members.
Supt. Erwin Margarejo, Manila Police District (MPD) spokesman, said about 800 anti-riot police were deployed in the vicinity of the rally site where 350 militants had gathered.
Margarejo said aside from Bayan Muna, other groups present were Kabataan, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Kadamay, Lumad, Karapatan, Selda, League of Filipino Students (LFS), Sinag, Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Gabriela Women’s Party, and Amihan.
Despite the initial scuffle, Margarejo said the rally ended peacefully.
The Philippines is hosting the 31st Asean Summit, which other member-countries Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, are expected to attend, aside from its dialogue partners Australia, Canada, China, European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the US.