An anti-American protest outside the U. S. Embassy in the Philippines took a violent turn when police ran over protesters with a van.
President Rodrigo Duterte has been bashing the U. S. in foul-mouthed tirades for weeks, stirring up anti-American sentiment in a country that has long been a staunch American ally. Around 1,000 protesters gathered outside the embassy in Manila Wednesday to protest America’s military presence in the Philippines, the Inquirer, a local news outlet, reports.
During the protests, a police fan charged into the crowd, moving back and forth rapidly and slamming into protesters. The people fought back with sticks and batons seized from police officers.
At least three student protesters were taken to the hospital after being run over by the van. Others were reportedly injured in engagements with riot police.
To quell the situation, the fire department dragged out high-powered hoses and sprayed the protesters. At least 23 people have been arrested, reports the Associated Press.
Duterte has been pulling away from the U. S., even threatening to “break up with America.” He has canceled joint drills and war games with the U. S. and called for the removal of troops from the southern island of Mindanao. He blames the U. S. for the Islamic militancy problem that has plagued the region for decades.
Although U. S. troops have been helping Filipino troops track terrorist organizations and stop Islamic militants, some of which have ties to ISIS, the protesters were calling for the removal of American military personnel from the conflicted region in the southern Philippines.
Duterte appears to be pivoting away from the U. S. and towards China, but the people are equally angry about the nation’s new partner.
“The Philippines will not be dictated on, whether by the U. S. or China,” the protesters argued.
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