No less than 20 people were arrested by the police enforcement in Manila on June 26, Friday, during an LGBTQIA+ Pride event. Participants of the said event were protesting against the anti-terrorism bill that intimidated the law in the Philippines.
At exactly 10 am, members of the said organization marched from Morayta to “withstand President Rodigo Duterte’s dictatorship”. The program was intended to celebrate pride month and to hinder the anti-terrorism bill.
In the middle of the rally, police officers arrested 10 members of the LGBTQIA+ rights group Bahaghari — eight from other progressive groups and two drivers, and detained them at the Manila Police District.
Protestors were said to be observing physical distancing and health protocols approved by the government when the police began arresting them one by one.
The policemen did not expound on the reason why they arrested the persons involved. They only mentioned that these objectors’ actions were prohibited by the law.
“Nasa batas iyan na bawal iyan,” they stated, without specifying which law these were violated. They also added that there were no signs of assertions of violence.
Bahaghari spokesperson Rey Valmores-Salinas, who was among those who were arrested at the rally, stated that the program was peaceful.
“Hinuli man kami ngayon, walang pandemiya, walang lockdown, at mas lalong walang mga pasistang baboy ang makapipigil ng pagsinag ng Bahaghari,” Valmores-Salinas expressed while being taken by the police.
“Queers have the right to protest, speak out, and to take action against a draconian terror law that will [have an] impact on citizens’ rights,” Human Rights group Karapatan said.
Karapatan Secretary-General Cristina Palabay stated, “We call on PNP to #FreePride20! To all members of the LGBTQ community and our allies, your support is very important. Let us show them that Pride is not just about the colors that we wear, it is about our love, our solidarity for those who fight for our humanity.”
Karapatan paralegal officer Jon Callueng posted a video showing that police officers were attempting to arrest the independent newsgroup Manila Today, where an intern was mistaken for a protestor.
According to some reports online, this is not the first time that the police arrested protesters during the pandemic, even if these individuals did not violate any quarantine regulations.
LAYOUT BY: Laiza Simeoune B. Sanchez
PHOTO SOURCE(S): Andrew Harrer and KJ Rosales