Members of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) rallied near the United States Embassy on Roxas Boulevard, Manila on Tuesday to protest alleged American intervention in the fighting between government troops and Islamist extremists in Marawi City.
Renato Reyes, secretary general of Bayan, said the rally coincided with the 241st Independence Day celebration of the US.
The group criticized President Rodrigo Duterte for allowing American soldiers to join the terror war in Mindanao.
“History tells us that presence of American military in all places almost always have bad effects,” said Reyes, citing the unstable situations in Syria, Iraq and Libya.
He clarified, however, that Bayan favored the annihilation of the Maute terror group, which has laid siege to Marawi, killing over 400 troops, civilians and the local bandits; displacing thousands; and destroying homes and infrastructure in its bid to establish an independent caliphate in Mindanao.
The more than 100 protesters were forced to hold a short program at the corner of United Nations Avenue and Marcelo H. Del Pilar Avenue as 200 anti-riot police barricaded the area around the embassy.
“We started our walk from Kalaw Street only to find out that the police have occupied this corner,” he said.
Reyes and his group arrived at M.H. Del Pilar Street at 9:30 a.m. and after an hour moved to the nearby Padre Faura Street where they held another rally opposing the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
“Once the Supreme Court will rule favoring Duterte, then the more he will have the courage to expand martial law to the entire country,” Reyes said.