Youth solon hurt in protest dispersal at US Embassy
Kabataan Rep. Sarah Jane Elago was among those injured following a violent dispersal of a protest action outside the US Embassy on Wednesday.
In a statement, Elago condemned the violent police dispersal of the protest action of lumads before the US Embassy in the Philippines.
Elago was bruised in the incident.
“We express our utmost condemnation of what we can consider as a brutal police attack against the people. The national minorities, under the banner of SANDUGO, a newly-established alliance of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for self-determination, were rallying at the US Embassy to underline their plight caused by US domination in the military, political, and economic affairs of our country,” Elago said.
In her account, Elago said Col. Marcelino Pedroso of the Manila Police District ordered the violent dispersal of the crowd.
The police launched tear gas on the crowd, and even rammed the patrol vehicle at the protesters, Elago said.
Three protesters were injured in the dispersal: SANDUGO Lead Convenor Piya Macliing Malayao, Quenilyn Gromeo of Anakbayan-PUP, and Baling Katubigan, a 61-year old lumad woman from Kasalo, Caraga.
Elago said the protest called for the scrapping of “lopsided” deal with the US, such as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, as well as the military’s Oplan Bayanihan, which lumads blamed for militarization in their ancestral domain.
“They were rallying against the plunder of our natural resources by the imperialist Washington and its big foreign companies,” Elago said.
Elago called on President Rodrigo Duterte to hold the police responsible for the dispersal accountable.
“We call on President Rodrigo Duterte, even if he is in China at the moment, to immediately address this issue and rein in his state forces. How can a president who is adamant against US intervention in the country accept that while he’s abroad, his own men are violently attacking his people, which he vowed to protect,” Elago said. JE
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