Monday, June 27, 2005

On the first day of classesYouth, teachers suffer police brutality

(On the June 6 Police Dispersal of Student Protest)
Prelude to GMA ouster, says youth group

Instead of books and ballpens, truncheons and brute force welcomed students and teachers on the first day of classes.

The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), League of Filipino Students (LFS), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Student Christian Movement of the Philippines and Anakbayan, together with the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and other youth groups, trooped to Malacañang on June 6 to protest tuition and fee hikes and the deteriorating state of education. The police and SWAT blocked them, however, along Morayta road.

The groups managed to push towards Don Chino Roces Bridge and were about to peacefully proceed with their rally when the police and some unidentified plainclothes men started forcibly shoving them.

Teachers, together with student leaders, arranged a negotiation so the rally could be held for at least 2 hours when police forces started shoving the protesters. A high school student was brutally hustled by policemen while he was resisting arrest. Another protester was terribly hurt when four policemen started beating him. Some others were similarly injured.

The harassment of protesters with legitimate calls for the government to prioritize education only proves to show how inutile the government is.

In the last years since GMA assumed office, this incident was not the first time that youth and students were prevented from holding mass actions near the Malacañang Palace. Government authorities invokes the “no permit, no rally” policy, which is a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression.

We have enough reason to believe that GMA will never be sincere in addressing the youth's interests. For all her conceit and condescension, she has failed to learn a lesson from her predescessor. We would like to remind GMA that the youth was one of the most powerful force which placed her in power. Now, we have enough reason to hasten her inevitable ouster.