UP students condemn US embassy dispersal
MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines-Diliman community stood in unity to denounce the brutal dispersion of protesters at the U.S. embassy in an indignation rally and candle lighting activity on Wednesdsay, October 19, at the Palma Hall steps in UP Diliman.
Police and protestors clashed in front of the U.S. embassy yesterday following a relatively peaceful protest program. The protestors, which included indigenous peoples, rallied against the presence of the Philippine and US militaries in ancestral lands. (READ: Police van overruns protesters in US embassy dispersal)
Various reports say the protestors were wrapping up their program at the gates of the embassy when police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. Chaos ensued but some organizers tried to calm the crowd. The driver of a police vehicle then accelerated towards the protestors and rammed into them several times, leaving 50 people injured. Video of the incident went viral online. Thirty people were later arrested. The on scene police commander insists the incident was an act of self-defense. (READ: 9 cops administratively relieved)
“Galit nag alit ang UP community at prevalent din sa social media ‘yong outrage ng mga tao sa napaka inhumane na dispersal na ginawa sa mga nagprotesta,” said student activist and STAND UP (Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP) chairperson Josiah Hiponia.
(The UP community is very angry and people are outraged on social media about the very inhumane dispersal of the protesters.)
Hiponia added that this contradicts the mantra of the Philippine National Police which is “to serve and to protect” the Filipino people.
Different student groups and indigenous peoples who are participating in the Lakbayan 2016 also joined the indignation rally.
“Ang gusto lang namin ay makauwi doon sa lugar namin. Ang panawagan lang namin ay hulihin ‘yong mga kriminal doon sa lugar namin kasi gusto na naming umuwi. Wala kaming makuhaan ng pagkain,” said Dindin Landasan who joined the US embassy rally.
(We only want to go home to our land. Our call is for the paramilitary groups to be arrested because we want to go home. We don’t have a source of living.)
Landasan’s family is one of the hundreds of families who were displaced due to the occupation of paramilitary groups in their area. They evacuated to Malaybalay, Bukidnon. Up until now, justice hasn’t been served according to her.
“’Yong nangyari kanina nag pag po-protesta ay malaki nang hakbangin kasi nakapag unite tayong mga Iskolar ng Bayan para kundinahin ‘yong gano’ng di hindi makataong pag trato sa mga kababayan natin,” said Hiponia.
(The protest a while ago is a huge step because we were able to unite as Iskolar ng Bayan to condemn that kind of inhumane treatment to our countrymen.) - Rappler