A young female activist was singled out from a group of protesters and was arrested for allegedly throwing a bottle of paint at the U.S. Embassy in Ermita, Manila early this morning.
Clad in gym clothes, the unnamed woman arrived in front of the embassy with members of the youth activist groups Anakbayan and League of Filipino Students (LFS). Authorities said she and her companions went near the embassy by blending in with a group of joggers before allegedly hurling plastic bottles full of paint towards the embassy’s gate and trying to vandalize the walls, prompting police to use handheld shields against them, ABS-CBN reports.
Coconuts Manila reached out to Ermita Police Station and the Manila Police District but they were unable to disclose the protester’s identity or provide additional details about the arrest.
Remate reports that a cop was hit by one of the paint bottles thrown at the embassy. The policeman was standing guard during the two groups’ protest, which was held to condemn the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the military pact that President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to terminate after the U.S. canceled his ally Senator Ronald dela Rosa’s American visa.
Both groups urged the government to junk the VFA, with Anakbayan posting a live video of their early morning protest, with participants bearing “Junk VFA” and “Junk EDCA” signs. (The EDCA, or Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, allows the U.S. to build and operate facilities in Philippine military bases.)
In the video, cops can be seen pushing protesters back with shields as the activists approach the embassy, though no paint bottles can be seen.
The LFS, meanwhile, condemned Duterte’s decision to have the Justice Department “review” the impact of the VFA’s possible cancellation on U.S.-Philippine relations.
The group accused Duterte of having “selfish and crooked interests,” and said that “the review of VFA must not be commensurate to dela Rosa’s visa cancellation. It must, first and foremost, be based on [a] genuine concern to uphold our country’s integrity.”
“Our very own president shows a very poor example of being a nationalist. It is up to us, the Filipino people, to stand and defend our national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Senate would do good to thoroughly review and immediately terminate VFA. Prove to us that you are truly for an independent foreign policy, else you be considered traitors to our country,” the LFS added.
Leftist groups have long called for the cancellation of the VFA, saying that granting the U.S. jurisdiction over criminal cases involving American servicemen has led to them evading justice in the past.
When several American soldiers were accused of rape in 2006 in Olongapo, for instance, the U.S. kept them in its custody instead of turning them over to Filipino officials. The VFA was again invoked when the U.S. refused to remand custody of former Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton, who killed transgender Filipina Jennifer Laude, to the New Bilibid Prison after he was convicted.
This article, Young female activist arrested for allegedly hurling paint at US embassy, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!