S.Tagalog Indigenous Peoples, Activists Condemn Brutal Police Dispersal at U.S. Embassy Protest
Regional alliance Bigsik at Lakas ng mga Katutubo sa Timog Katagalugan (BALATIK) and BAYAN-Southern Tagalog in a statement expressed their strongest condemnation against police brutality orchestrated and perpetrated by the Manila Police District under Police Supt. Marcelino Pedrozo.
“It seems the police were there with sole mission of protecting the US at any cost, including the welfare of their own people. We would’ve been thankful had they just allowed us to continue our program and let us be. But true to being the sycophants that they are, they felt the need to remind us who really is the boss in our land. They did not even bother to take note of the source of our anger”, the group said.
Reports on the ground indicated that as the protest action led by SANDUGO, a recently formed alliance of national minorities in the Philippines, was already wrapping up and was in fact down to its last speaker when police suddenly started hitting and manhandling the protesters.
Up to 29 indigenous peoples, health workers and a member of Southern Tagalog Exposure were detained at the MPD Headquarters while at least 50 sustained injuries, including 3 who were in critical condition after a certain PO3 Kho indiscriminately ran over the protesters using a marked police vehicle. Aside from water canons, the police also fired teargas to protesters.
“What happened on October 19 is nothing but plain cruelty and fascism of the highest order”, BAYAN-Southern Tagalog said in statement.
The groups also hit the indifference of the PNP as they played Christmas songs in full volume while the groups are holding indignation rally demanding the release of the detained protesters. Everyone was later freed.
The use of brute force against the indigenous people was totally unnecessary— ridiculous even if we take into account the fact that national minorities have been brutalized by state forces throughout history to pave the way for imperialist development aggression. Not to mention that only yesterday, soldiers at Camp Aguinaldo violently dispersed the protesting IPs.
BAYAN-ST meanwhile called on the Filipino people to join the national minorities in their continuing struggle for self-determination and against all which that threatens and destroys their systems of community.
“We enjoin all Filipinos to remain steadfast in our fight against US Imperialism”, the group said.
Meanwhile, labor center Pagkakaisang nga mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan – Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU) denounced the fascist actions of the PNP saying that this another round of state-violence fall within the government’s framework of silencing critics and those who redress legitimate demands.
“We strictly condemn the fascist actions of the PNP for earlier’s dispersal. This only meant that for the powderkegs at military and police camps, and even some in the government, the real solution to conflict remains to be the silencing of dissidents and those who seek genuine change”, the group said in a statement.
“There are no words to describe the pain that our national minority groups suffer from harassment and neglect in the countryside.We continue to be one with the national minorities in their struggle for a just peace and in their call for self-determination”, it added.
The groups also demanded to urgently hold accountable the police, in particular its ground commander, Col. Pedrozo who ordered the violent dispersal. ###
*Video Credits: Kodao Productions