MANILA – Some 28,000 demonstrators trooped to various staging areas in Manila as of 3 p.m. Thursday to hold the National Day of Protest.
Manila Police District (MPD) spokesperson, Supt. Erwin Margarejo, said that about 12,000 supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte marched to Plaza Miranda, about 8,000 members of multi-sectoral groups converged in Luneta Park, and about 3,000 pro-Duterte demonstrators and 5,000 protesters gathered in Mendiola.
However, according to the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), as of 6 p.m. pro-government demonstrators in Plaza Miranda decreased to about 8,000 and about 1,000 were holding a rally in front of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Quezon City.
Earlier, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson, Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos, assured the safety of all protesters who will join the National Day of Protest.
“The PNP will be working today (Thursday) to assist the protesters and help ensure a safe and orderly conduct of the rallies/mass actions,” Carlos said.
However, Carlos appealed to organizers and participants of various protest actions to police their own ranks to avoid infiltration of saboteurs and refrain from bringing firearms in the rally, occupying roads and streets so as not to inconvenience the public, and committing any crime or violating any law.
Carlos added that PNP Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa has ordered the PNP to exercise maximum tolerance towards the protesters.
The NCRPO, meanwhile, has activated Task Force Manila Shield to ensure a safe and orderly conduct of mass action and protest rallies in the metropolis.