Violence in Mendiola 'campout' dispersal hit

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 07 2011 06:43 PM | Updated as of Dec 08 2011 02:58 PM

Militants: More demonstrations in the coming days

MANILA, Philippines – Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) condemned the government’s actions against youth demonstrators who took part in a “campout” to protest the growing hunger and poverty in the country.

The youth activists marched to Mendiola Bridge on Tuesday but were blocked by riot police using truncheons and water cannons.

On Wednesday, the activists again attempted to reach Mendiola but were once again stopped by police.

At least 10 protesters were hurt while 5 more were arrested and brought to the Manila Police District (MPD). Seven injured policemen were also rushed to the MPD's clinic.

"We condemn the Aquino government's repression of our right to hold protests even as it fails to solve the growing hunger and poverty in the country. The president, a beneficiary of the Hacienda Luisita massacre for which he has not sought justice, is showing a glimpse of the iron hand hidden under his velvet glove," said KMU chairperson Elmer Labog in a press statement.

KMU is calling for a significant wage hike, an end to contractualization of work forces and demolition of urban poor communities, the imposition of controls on the prices of basic goods especially oil, and the distribution of Luisita lands to farmers.

"We are calling on all sectors of society, especially the country's legislators and religious leaders, to condemn the Aquino government's violence against participants in the Mendiola Campout protest. The repression of protestors for two days now is a bad precedent which we should all condemn," Labog added.

Militant youth group Anakbayan, who also joined the demonstration, plans to file a complaint against police.

Activists are also planning more rallies in Mendiola from Thursday to Saturday for Hacienda Luisita farmers and to mark International Human Rights Day.

Police, meanwhile, said rallies are allowed until the peace arch at Mendiola but demonstrators are not allowed to camp out or sleep there. -- With a report from Niko Baua, ABS-CBN News