MANILA – A Dutch activist blamed for making a Philippine policeman cry was deported and permanently banned from the country, the immigration bureau said Thursday.
The bureau said Thomas van Beersum was deported on Wednesday after the authorities had picked him out from a photograph that went viral showing him allegedly haranguing a uniformed police officer at an anti-government protest in Manila last month.
Van Beersum is an “undesirable alien” who violated the terms of his tourist visa by joining a protest, immigration bureau spokeswoman Antonette Mangrobang told AFP.
“The activities he engaged in do not fall under those of a regular tourist, which are health, business or pleasure”, she added.
The activist was photographed yelling at a weeping Filipino riot policeman at an anti-government protest during President Benigno Aquino’s annual policy address to parliament on July 22.
Photographs of the incident, showing policeman Joselito Sevilla crying as he held back van Beersum and other activists, spread around the world on the Internet, and provoked heated debates on social media sites.
The policeman later said he was crying from exhaustion and hunger after a long stint securing the area for Aquino’s speech.
Van Beersum was detained at Manila airport on Tuesday as he prepared to leave the country.
The Dutchman, who said he is 21, alleged in a posting on his Facebook account late Wednesday that his 30-hour detention was a government ploy to distract attention from its shortcomings.
“This harassment is obviously done to distract the people from the actual problems that the country faces, such as the almost total domination of its economy by foreign capitalists and the complicity of comprador puppets such as Aquino,” he added.