By Elizabeth E. Escaño
The University of the Philippines community on Thursday condemned the violent dispersal of the “Occupy Mendiola” protest at Bustillos Church, Manila on Dec. 7.
In a press conference in the Palma Hall lobby, students, faculty, staff and administration representatives came together to protest the brutal police reaction to the rally.
“Hindi pa ko nakakita ng ganoong pasismo (Never before had I seen fascism like that),” said Prof. Sarah Raymundo.
Police had used truncheons and water cannons to disperse the protesters, some of whom were injured or arrested.
Wednesday’s rally was held on the second day of CampoutPH, the Philippines’ version of the Occupy movement, which aims to fight economic and social inequality.
Student Regent Krissy Conti, relating occupying Mendiola’s space to science, said, “All matter occupies space. We are the 99%. We matter.”
Meanwhile, the UP administration assured the students support. Assistant Vice-President for Public Information Danilo Arao said, “Ang administrasyon ay nakikipagkaisa sa mga ganitong protesta. Makakaasa kayong ang administrasyon ay nasa likod niyo (The administration joins this kind of protest. You can expect the administration to have your back),” he said.
He also read UP President Alfredo Pascual’s statement, which said that the protest action was “a legitimate expression of civil and political rights guaranteed under the Constitution, and in accordance with the UP Charter.”