On October 19, 2016, militant left protested before the U.S. Embassy Manila. This is nothing new. The Militant Left’s ‘Anti-Imperialist U.S.’ stance no different from what transpired years before. The Militant Left threw paint bombs, and defaced property. The difference this time, the Militant Left were supporting the elected Government of the Philippines. The Militant Left were supporting Mr. Duterte’s stance. These things were quite clear in their activity. Perhaps driven by a confluence of events with Mr. Duterte in Beijing to sign deals with.
Now here is where it gets… murky. The police did not exercise maximum tolerance. By the afternoon of 19 October 2016, a police van captured in video rammed the protesters, at least twice. The police said they did it because the protesters were shaking the van, and would have broken the police line.
Director General Bato of the Philippine National Police, and one of Mr. Duterte’s supporters issued a statement that they would investigate the matter and that the officers who participated have been relieved of duty.
Police brutality is never acceptable. It is not acceptable in this case. The facts leading up to that brutal assault should be determined as best as possible. The militant left are human beings too and do not deserve the treatment that they got.
That being said, the Protesters too are not at entirely without fault. They taunted the police. They threw paint bombs at them. The question is, why? Was this necessary? Let’s remember that the Militant Left are not anti-government here. They are Pro-Government. The Militant Left are Pro-Duterte people protesting before the embassy of the United State of America in support of Mr. Duterte’s Anti-American policy. The Militant Left’s cry of protest— which is well within their democratic right was in support of the duly elected President of the Philippines. So why then did such violence escalate?
Did the protesters think they could storm the U.S. embassy? Drive the Americans out of the Philippines? Did they wish to enrage the public, to weaken the public’s pro-American stance over China?
The protesters are Pro-Duterte. The police are under the command of Director General Bato, who is a top supporter of Mr. Duterte. Does this mean there is a gulf between the factions of the Duterte Administration? That the right hand is not aligned with the left hand? That the Police, and organ of the state, and the Pro-Duterte supporters, are not coordinating? There was no need to taunt the police. There was no need to break into their lines. There was no need for violence simply because they were on the same side. The Police’s job should have been as simple as providing security— that no outside force could undermine a peaceful protest. That the protesters were kept safe.
So why then did violence happen?
In this entire matter, there are no heroes or villains. The Protesters are at fault simply because there was no necessitating the taunting, their orgy of violent protest. As part of the administration this shouldn’t have happened. Police brutality on the other hand is unacceptable. Protesters are human beings too, even if they are not entirely blameless on the matter. There are no winners in the violence that occurred outside the U.S. Embassy Manila. Police Brutality. Protester Brutality. There are only losers.