July 24, 2013
(PHILIPPINES) Violent Dispersal of Protest Action of Civil Society Organizations during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Aquino III
Issues: Violent Dispersal; Harassment and Intimidation; Arbitrary Arrest and Detention; Human Rights Defenders; Freedom of Expression and Right to Organize; Physical Injuries; Command Responsibility
The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) is forwarding to you an appeal regarding the violent dispersal of demonstrators perpetrated by members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) at the Southbound lane of Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines during the protest against the SONA of President Aquino on July 22, 2013 and is seeking your help to end violations against the Freedom of Assembly.
Around twenty (20) persons were hurt during the dispersal and one (1) person was arbitrarily arrested during the incident.
If you wish to make any inquiries, please contact the Research, Documentation and Information Program of TFDP at # 45 St. Mary Street, Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines 1109 or call +632 4378054 or email
FACTS OF THE CASE
Around 20 demonstrators were hurt and 1 person arbitrarily arrested in a violent dispersal during a protest action in Commonwealth Avenue Quezon Cityon July 22, 2013 at around 3 PM. The protest was in line with the State of the Nation Address of President Benigno Aquino III.
The group of around 2,000 protesters led by the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) were shifting towards the southbound lane of the avenue when around 250 members of the PNP immediately blocked them and instructed them to leave.
Leaders of FDC tried to initiate a dialogue and negotiate with the police to allow them to continue their protests. However, Police Ground Commander Senior Superintendent Norberto Mabagay allegedly instructed the members of the PNP to push the demonstrators back to the northbound lane of the avenue. They also started grabbing the streamers and flags of the protesters.