A video of a police van running over several protesters at US Embassy in Manila, this Wednesday October 19 went viral on social media. On the other hand, the police categorically denied deliberately doing the act, saying that they were just defending themselves. Below is the video of what actually happened before the untoward incident. Warning: the video contains graphic content.
As you can see on the video taken by Kilab Multimedia, the protest rally in front of US embassy was initially peaceful. You can hear speeches from the speakers of the militant groups including Sandugo, an alliance of Moro and indigenous peoples for ,self-determination, Kabataan Partylist and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).
But later, some of the protesters and police officers can be seen pushing each other. You can see some leaders of protest groups the middle of the crowd trying to pacify their members, with one of them can be heard shouting, “Walang mambabato! (Don’t throw stones!). Shortly, the camera focused on a police van being mobbed by protesters.
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Some protesters can be seen hitting a police officer near the police van with a peace of wood, and his police shield was held by the protesters. You can also hear a male protester cursing on top of his voice multiple times. Some protesters surrounded the police van, with one of them climbed on the roof. Then, tear gas was fired apparently to control the situation.
The violent was pacified shortly, as militant group leaders have somehow led their members away from the police van. A few seconds later, the police van can be seen moving backwards, and protesters angrily followed him. This was when the police van went back and forth, and ran over some protesters. Then, there were throwing of stones.
This Thursday morning, October 17, the PNP had a press conference on the incident during the anti-US protest rally, and announced the relief of 9 PNP officers involved in the incident. This includes Senior Supt. Marcelino Pedrozo, who allegedly ordered the dispersion, and PO3 Franklin Kho, the driver of the police van that ran over the protesters.
Based on initial investigation, 35 police officers and 22 protesters were hurt in the incident. A team is now assigned to conduct a thorough investigation, as both parties plan to sue each other. Nevertheless, Senior Supt. Pedrozo denied ordering the dispersal, and PO3 Kho insisted that he was only protecting the police, and did not intentionally ran over the protesters.