Netizens call to free detained Pride protesters: ‘Pride is protest’
MANILA, Philippines– After the arrest of 20 LGBTQ+ protesters by the police on June 26, netizens took their outrage to social media and called on the Manila police to free the apprehended protesters.
This year’s Bahaghari-led Pride protest had 3 objectives: first, to celebrate Pride; second, to express their disagreement with the passage of the anti-terrorism bill; and third, to urge the government to swiftly act on the ongoing pandemic.
The group marched from Morayta at 10 am, and held a program near the Mendiola Peace Arch.
After the news broke on social media, #FreePride20 immediately trended on Twitter. Netizens expressed their outrage and called for the immediate release of the apprehended protesters. Some of them even reached out to Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno, saying the arrests were illegal and questioned his support for the LGBTQ+ community.
According to the police, the protesters were arrested due to physical distancing violations and supposed failure to secure a permit. These accusations, however, were refuted by the protesters who insisted that they practiced the protocols that had been set to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In a statement, the Concerned Artists of the Philippines condemned the Pride march arrests in Mendiola and called for the protection of the people’s right to protest.
“Today’s dispersal shows how all the more urgent it is to stand and push back for freedom, democracy, and human rights in the time of the pandemic,” the organization wrote on their Facebook page.
Gabriela Women’s Party echoed this and insisted that the arrests were illegal as there is no law that prohibits holding a protest under a community quarantine.
“We call on the Filipino people to press for the immediate release of all those arrested. Police officers must be held accountable for conducting the illegal arrests,” said the statement shared by Gabriela on its page.
Netizens react to the arrest
Twitter users expressed their discontent and rage over the Pride march arrests through the online platform.
“Ang Pride ay isang protesta laban sa diskriminasyon na natatanggap ng LGBTQ+ community at ang kawalan ng pagkakapantay-pantay sa ating lipunan. Kailan pa naging labag sa batas ang ipaglaban ito?” Twitter user @tomato_clara wrote.
(Pride is a protest against discrimination being experienced by the LGBTQ+ community and against societal inequality. When did fighting for it become a crime?)
Some netizens are worried as the arrests are already a manifestation of the abuses that could be committed if the anti-terror bill becomes law. (READ: 'This is not terrorism': Filipinos take to the streets after anti-terror bill hurdles Congress)
“The Anti Terror Bill is not yet a law, yet the police dispersed a peaceful protest and arrested them without any reasons. And they say the protesters started the violence? The protests have been peaceful until the police got involved,” Nichole Labiano wrote on Twitter.
Here are other tweets from concerned netizens:#FreePride20 - Curated tweets by MovePH