Cops secure Mendiola, US Embassy vs separate protests

Police in Manila on Friday secured the Mendiola Bridge near Malacañang and the United States Embassy along Roxas Boulevard in anticipation of at least two protest marches scheduled for the day.

At Mendiola Bridge, the Manila Police District closed off the area to vehicular traffic as they expect militant farmers to march there, radio dzBB's Carlo Mateo reported.

MPD spokesman Chief Inspector Erwin Margarejo appealed to the organizers of both protests to police their own ranks and keep their actions peaceful.

He added the MPD anti-riot teams will maintain maximum tolerance.

Expected to march to Mendiola are militant farmers who had engaged police in a violent confrontation at the National Anti-Poverty Commission office in Quezon City Thursday.

Some police personnel, including a station commander, were injured in the clash where the farmers claimed the coconut levy may have been misused.

Meanwhile, the dzBB report said police are also keeping watch over the US Embassy along Roxas Boulevard.

The police are anticipating a march by militants protesting the grounding of the US minesweeper USS Guardian at Tubbataha Reef.

Earlier, militant groups had staged lightning rallies at the embassy, targeting its signage with paint.

Charges vs farmers

Meanwhile, police in Quezon City are preparing charges against militant farmers following a clash at the National Anti-Poverty Commission office in Quezon City Thursday.

Quezon City Police District Station 2 head Superintendent Pedro Sanchez said they may seek help from media crews that covered Thursday's clash.

Sanchez said they need footage and photos to identify the farmers who beat up some of his personnel, radio dzBB's Allan Gatus reported Friday.

The report said the charges may include physical injury and assault on persons in authority. Sanchez himself was among the police personnel injured in Thursday's clash.

On Thursday, militant farmers tried to force their way into the office of the NAPC.

The farmers had demanded that NAPC head Joel Rocamora explain allegations of misuse of coconut levy funds. Rocamora denied the allegations but said he is open to a dialogue with them.

Meanwhile, police tightened security at the NAPC following the clash where the farmers tried to force their way in. —KG, GMA News

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