Seven protesters were arrested by the Cebu City police and guards today, Jun. 5 during a peaceful protest at the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu.
Prior to this, police officers in riot gear and a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team were spotted patrolling areas around the campus where various organizations were expected to protest. According to the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) Cebu, the protesters were given five minutes to stop the protest. The protesters, who had just finished kneeling in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, were then violently dispersed by the police with help from UP Cebu guards.
— Tug-ani (@upcebutugani) June 5, 2020
A video of a protester being chased by a police guard was circulated online minutes after the dispersal.
UPDATE: The other protesters are still currently trapped inside UP Cebu. Reports from supporters who are outside said that police forces are waiting for them outside the campus to arrest them. #JunkTerrorBill #ReleaseCebu7
— CEGP Cebu (@CEGPCebu) June 5, 2020
CEGP Cebu reported that seven individuals who were members of Bayan Central Visayas, National Union Students of the Philippines, Yanat Cebu, Kabataan Partylist, Anakbayan-UP Cebu, and Food Not Bombs Cebu were arrested. They are detained at Camp Sotero Cabahug. Other protesters are reportedly still inside UP Cebu as police officers are still waiting outside the campus.
According to Today’s Carolinian, the official student publication of the University of San Carlos Cebu, a lawyer arrived to assist the arrested protesters. The police claimed that quarantine protocols were violated but did not specify which ones. Phones of those arrested were also confiscated.
According to CEGP Cebu, police and military are not allowed on the school’s grounds without permission under the 1989 Soto-Enrile Accord. The violent dispersal of the alleged peaceful protest comes before the signing of the Anti-Terror Bill into law and after a successful protest held at UP Diliman yesterday.
Header photo courtesy of College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP)
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Writer: THEA TORRES