POLICE arrested a leader of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) following a dispersal of a rally organized by the group in front of President Aquino’s house on Times Street, Quezon City on Saturday. KMP immediately accused Malacañang of ordering the dispersal and arrest of its leader, Antonion Flores. KMP Chairman Rafael Mariano said the arrest of Flores, the group’s secretary-general enforced at around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday was “illegal”. Flores, who hails from Mindanao, is now detained at Camp Karingal in Quezon City.
“This violence is a testament to the escalating human-rights violations under the Aquino regime,” Mariano said in a statement.
The protesters had just finished the program when Quezon City Police District Supt. Pedro Sanchez ordered his men to disperse the protesters. According to KMP, the police clubbed unarmed rallyists with truncheons and nightsticks.
The protesters were chased by the police from Times Street to Delta and Timog Avenue intersection. More than 300 protesters, mostly farmers and indigenous peoples, who were demanding the ouster of Mr. Aquino stormed Times Street as part of the Manilakbayan protest of Mindanao farmers and indigenous peoples in Manila to highlight the escalating human-rights violations and land-grabbing in Mindanao.
“The protesters have raised legitimate demands, including genuine land reform, justice for victims of human-rights violations and opposition to [President] Aquino’s anti-people policies like Charter change. Instead of hearing them out, the [administration] resorted to further violence and illegal arrest,” Mariano said.
KMP called for the immediate and unconditional release of Flores.