MANILA - Activists denouncing the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia clashed with policemen as they attempted to hold a protest in Ayala Avenue, Makati City on Thursday afternoon.
Around 50 activists belonging to the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) were initially asked by the Makati police to leave the area where the WEF is being held.
The protesters, however, refused and instead insisted on holding a demonstration.
This resulted in a scuffle between the cops and the protesters, who were led by Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes and former Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño.
Some militants were arrested by the police.
According to Makati City Police Chief Sr. Supt. Manuel Lukban, the militants did not have a permit to rally.
"Wala tayong permit sa kanila. Walang coordination yan. Walang kahit anong permit. At sila'y nakaka-block ng daanan," Lukban told ABS-CBN News.
He said they will be filing charges, including physical injuries and resisting arrest, against the protesters.
"Kanina may namamalo pa sa mga pulis, pinagbabawalan na sila," he said.
Lukban later ordered cops not to push the protesters anymore but told them to confiscate their placards.
The militant group Bayan was denouncing the WEF, which it said is "an occasion for monopoly capitalists and their lackeys to discuss how to further bleed the world of profits while making themselves look good."
"It is just sick for the Aquino administration to claim that the Philippines is the 'next Asian miracle' when we all know that poverty, hunger, unemployment, skyrocketing prices and corruption is as worse as ever. Mr. Aquino and his fans in the WEF may dream on, but the reality is that his people are suffering from his failed economic policies," Casiño said in a statement.
The group decried the WEF and Aquino government's alleged thrust to further liberalize the economy, privatize water services, public hospitals and other public utilities and government services, and open up more sectors to foreign capital.
They said these policies hurt the poor, destroy the domestic economy and use up the natural resources of many poor countries.
"For ordinary farmers, workers and the vast majority of ordinary people, such policies mean higher prices of utilities and basic commodities, layoffs and depressed wages, the plunder of the national patrimony, massive poverty and underdevelopment. For them, WEF means 'World Epic Fail,'" Casiño said. -- Report from Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News