Police defend 'sonic weapon' use vs anti-Trump protesters


Posted at Nov 14 2017 08:51 AM | Updated as of Nov 14 2017 09:24 AM

Protesters are hosed by a water cannon as they clash with police during a rally against the visit of US President Donald Trump, who is attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and related meetings in Manila, Monday. Erik De Castro, Reuters

MANILA - The Metro Manila police defended Tuesday its use of sonic alarms to repel protesters that marched towards a summit of world leaders in the capital.

Thousands of activists marched near the venue of the ASEAN Summit to protest the spate of killings in the country and the participation of US President Donald Trump in the meeting of world leaders.

Police fired water cannons and sounded high-pitched alarms to stop the protesters' march towards the Philippine International Convention Center.

The sonic weapon or long range acoustic device (LRAD) could have caused ear injuries, claimed Renato Reyes, secretary general of militant group Bayan.

Director Oscar Albayalde, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office, said the (LRAD land) only causes discomfort.

"Ang LRAD po ay non-fatal iyan, wala pong harmful effect... Ginagamit po iyan talaga during hindi mo na talaga makontrol ang mga raliyista kagaya kahapon, sinaktan na at pilit silang lumulusot doon sa barikada," Albayalde told DZMM.

(The LRAD is non-fatal and has no harmful effect. It is used when authorities could no longer control protesters, just like what happened yesterday, when the mob used force and tried to slip past the barricades.)

"Mas masakit po iyung water canon lalo na 'pag sobrang lakas ang pressure, para ka na pong sinuntok d'yan," he added.

(The water canon hurts more, especially if its pressure was set high. It would feel like a punch.)

Some 80 people were injured in Monday's melee.

Albayalde said 1,000 policemen from Calabarzon and the Special Action Force were set to reinforce the anti-riot team.

Protesters, he said, were only allowed to converge at Liwasang Bonifacio and Plaza Miranda.