International Indigenous Activists Condemn Violent Dispersal of National Minorities’ Protest in the Philippines
(updated 20/10/2016) The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) strongly condemns the violent dispersal of the protest of national minorities in front of the Embassy of the United States the morning of October 19, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. According to ground reports, almost 40 were hurt when police vehicles ran over the protesters to disperse the rally. Police then proceeded to use truncheons and teargas to disperse the indigenous and Moro protesters. 29 protesters were held illegally by the police.
The protesting national minorities were calling for the end to US intervention in Philippine affairs and the implementation of an independent Philippine government foreign policy based on mutual respect and cooperation. US interests on ancestral lands and terrritories of national minorities have brought only destruction to ancestral lands as well as virtual ethnocide to Indigenous and Moro peoples, and IPMSDL believes it is only right that national minorities call for an independent foreign policy as part of the fight for self determination not only of national minorities but also of the Filipino nation.
The IPMSDL deplores the use of unnecessary force against national minorities who are demanding their legitimate rights. The dispersal was unprovoked, the protesters peacefully winding up their program when the police attacked them. It is unconscionable that the Philippine police would choose to defend the embassy of a foreign country rather than uphold its vow to serve and protect the Filipino people, including national minorities.
We call on the Philippine police to respect the rights of national minorities in the Philippines, and urge the Philippine government to immediately ascertain the culpability of officals involved in the incident and bring to justice those who will be proven responsible.
The fight for self determination of national minorities is a fight for self determiantion of the Filipino nation. IPMSDL supports the struggle of the national minorities against intervention of the United States of America and other foreign entities.
Ms. Beverly Longid
Global Coordinator, IPMSDL
Photo Jerome Lantin/ABS-CBN