The Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) condemns the dispersal of the rally held by women-members of APL with other fraternal organizations this morning as they marched from the Sto. Domingo church towards Mendiola to commemorate International Women’s Day (IWD).
The police blocked the rallyists at the Welcome Rotonda and after an hour of negotiation, the police without any provocation begun arresting Risa Hontiveros of Akbayan party and clobbering the activists ruthlessly with their batons and truncheons. Many were hurt and injured during the scuffle. Those arrested along with Ms. Hontiveros were Josua Mata, APL secretary general and other activists.
“The police has no right to disperse the activity and arrest its leaders since the APL and other groups were just exercising their fundamental right to peacefully assemble as enshrined in the Constitution, ” Tess Gurion, chair of APL-Women said.
“Gloria Arroyo has only proven that she is really determined to destroy democracy in our country. She has not only turned her back on the will and interests of the Filipino people but is using brute force to stifle our legitimate rights and democratic demands to perpetuate herself in power,” Gurion added.
“It is not a sign of might and determination to protect and defend democracy. Rather, it is a pathetic attempt of a president to do anything to “legitimize” her cling to power. What happened clearly indicates that Gloria Arroyo is now in an extreme state of paranoia for she knows that her time is up and is already at the brink of being ousted from Malacañang. Martial Law is definitely here again and she is now using the coercive powers of the state to create a climate of fear and unrest,” Fatima Cabanag, Kapatiran ng Manggagawang Obrero (KAMAO-APL) said.
“The continued dispersal of peaceful demonstrations held in the exercise of the constitutional right to hold assemblies and petition the government for redress of grievances is a basic sign that Gloria Arroyo will really not listen to the demands of the people and will continue to stifle legitimate political dissent that would only result to more violations of human rights. Unfortunately for her, Gloria has no time left to retract and amend. The people are disgusted and soon, her time would be finally over,” Cabanag added.