From Ang Bayan: Workers In The Philippines Protest At The US Embassy In Manila On International Labor Day

Ang Bayan

May 2, 2024

Workers and other sectors, led by Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), marched to the US embassy on Roxas Boulevard in Ermita, Manila on May 1 to condemn the launching of the Balikatan Exercises 2024 in the country and the Marcos regime’s push for the anti-national and anti-worker charter change (chacha). Workers clamor: wages and sovereignty, not war and chacha! The protest at the US embassy follows the action of a broad coalition of workers in Morayta, Manila.

“[The US] is not an ally, but an enemy,” the KMU declared. It insisted, the Balikatan Exercises 2024 being launched with the aim of starting a war against China will endanger the country and the Filipino people. It says the US is doing this to portray itself as “the defender of small nations and to profit from selling weapons.”

They also condemned the Marcos regime for railroading chacha. It said the imperialist US will use it to continue “interfering in the Philippines.” Chacha will allow 100% foreign ownership in some key sectors of the country’s economy. “This will be used for interference especially by foreign capitalists to amass huge profits while pillaging our labor force, natural resources, and sovereignty,” KMU said.

They say these are proof that “the Marcos Jr. regime is further strengthening US imperialist domination over the Philippines.”

Release Mayo Uno 6

Six youth activists, dubbed Mayo Uno 6, were dragged and arrested by police at the protest at the US embassy. Before this, groups managed to get past the first police barricade. An estimated 12,000 were mobilized by the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) against the rally goers.

“The use of excessive force by the Manila Police District reveals their true nature: servants of the rich and powerful, and protectors of the greedy,” KMU said.

They further insisted that brutality is a usual practice of the police and there is no room for their media projections of “maximum tolerance” or restraint, especially in actions and protests near the US embassy.

On the same day, youth and human rights groups immediately held a rally at the headquarters of the Manila Police District to call for the release of the six arrested. It is not yet clear what charges the police will file against them.

“We call for the immediate release of [Mayo Uno 6], and for a swift and impartial investigation into police violence,” the group said.

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