As the first day of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related meetings commenced yesterday, militant groups went to the streets to protest and denounce the state visit of US President Donald Trump in the country .
At 10 in the morning, tension erupted between the anti-Trump protesters and members of the anti-riot police after the former attempted to storm the gates of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
Yet as they reached the corner of Padre Faura and Taft Avenue, they were halted by a platoon of anti-riot police. The protesters attempted to overpower the police by pushing them since they were strong in numbers, but members of the Bureau of Fire Protection turned on their water cannons to try and disperse the huge number of protesters.
The militants also brought their own shields to try and outflank the police who were blocking their way towards PICC.
Initially, the police thought that the protesters were going to converge along Kalaw Avenue to Roxas Boulevard but were surprised by the change of direction of the rallyists.
A few members from both the anti-riot police and the protesters sustained minor injuries while one protester reportedly fainted during the scuffle.
Thousands of these militants from Anakpawis, Bayan, Gabriela, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, and other groups gathered in the morning at Kalaw and Taft Avenue, and in Lawton. Once they gathered in Taft. they covered the whole stretch of Taft Avenue from Padre Faura up to the United Nations Avenue.
Past 12 noon, they burned the 12-foot effigy of US President Donald Trump. They inserted a joke that Trump was very “thick faced” since the effigy took long to burn.
Past 11 in the morning, the groups put up a stage using a truck and started their program denouncing the visit of US President Donald Trump to the country.
They called the President Rodrigo Duterte the “lapdog” of the “imperialist” US President saying that his visit is a disgrace to the country since the United States is no member of the ASEAN and has no right to meddle in the annual gathering of state heads.
They also called President Duterte’s toughness as a fake disposition. “Peke po ang pinapakitang tapang ni Presidente Duterte, na lumalabas lang sa mahihirap, ” (The President’s ferocity is fake, which he only enforces on the poor)
Protesters labeled both Presidents Duterte and Trump as “proud mass murderers” who go on television to express their beliefs.
They called on PNP chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa who earlier asked the rallyists for cooperation. “Sana isipin natin ang kapakanan ang Pilipinas, magtulungan tayo (I hope they consider the welfare of our country. Let’s cooperate),” Dela Rosa said in a DZBB interview.
But the militants answered back, saying that Trump’s visit to the Philippines had placed shame on the country. The militants called the rule of the two presidents as “fascist regimes” working to promote neoliberalism with policies such as free trade and privatization.
The protesters marched to Liwasang Bonifacio for a cultural night. They also cried before leaving Taft Avenue that they will be returning tomorrow with a larger crowd.
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