Protesters try to crash forum, clash with policemen

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Policemen prevent Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño from rejoining other protesters who were trying to hold a rally near the venue of the WEF in Makati City on Thursday. PHOTO BY RENE DILAN

Policemen prevent Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño from rejoining other protesters who were trying to hold a rally near the venue of the WEF in Makati City on Thursday. PHOTO BY RENE DILAN

SEVERAL protesters were arrested after they clashed with policemen on the second day of the 23rd World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia being held in Makati City in Metro Manila.

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The policemen barred the rallyists from getting near Shangri-la Hotel, the venue for a WEF meeting.

Former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro Casiño and Renato Reyes, the secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), led more than 100 placard-carrying demonstrators in staging the rally along Ayala Avenue.

When they blocked the northbound lane of Ayala Avenue going toward Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa), the policemen tried to disperse them.

Three rallyists were arrested during the commotion but were freed later.

Makati City Police Chief Sr. Supt. Manuel Lukban Jr. said the demonstrators had no permit to hold the mass action.

“They did not even coordinate with the police. What they did is illegal assembly,” he added.

Reyes decried the “violent” dispersal and accused the police of violating their right to express their sentiments on the WEF.

Casiño denounced the WEF as an “occasion for monopoly capitalists and their lackeys to discuss how to further bleed the world of profits while making themselves look good.”

He slammed President Benigno Aquino 3rd for “window-dressing the Philippine economy before the global elite to hide the fact that poverty has worsened and corruption is as rampant as ever.”

“It is just sick for the Aquino administration to claim that the Philippines is the next Asian miracle when we all know that poverty, hunger, unemployment, skyrocketing prices and corruption are as worse as ever,” Casiño said.

After more than an hour of pushing and shoving, authorities allowed the rallyists to finish their program after which they voluntarily dispersed.

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