Police use water cannons on protesters near U.S. Embassy

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — A commotion erupted between anti-riot policemen and protesters near the U.S. embassy in Manila on Saturday.

The protesters marched from Kalaw Avenue (TM Kalaw Street) to the U.S. Embassy as part of a rally in commemoration of the 31st anniversary of the People Power Revolution.

The police used water cannons as they blocked protesters from going inside the U.S. Embassy.

At least two rallyists sustained minor injuries, police said.

PSupt. Emerey Abating, the station commander of Manila Police District-Police Station 5 who ordered the firing of water cannons on the protesters, said it was a decision he had to make.

"'Pag di natin nagawa yun, malamang lahat sila hindi natin mapapakalma. Kailangan nating basain sila at ang mga pulis din naman para kahit papano mapalamig ang ulo nila (If we did not do that, they won't calm down. We needed to splash them and the police with water so their temper can cool down),"Abating said.

"Nabasa lang naman sila, ang direkta ng tubig pataas, hindi direkta sa kanila (They just got wet, the water was not directed at them)," he added.

He said the demonstration went "generally peaceful" after the protesters agreed to conduct their rally outside the U.S. Embassy, Abating said.

Abating said the police were avoiding a clash, taking lessons from what happened at the violent dispersal of a rally outside the U.S. Embassy last year, which wounded dozens of protesters.

Saturday's protesters were composed of urban groups lobbying against the U.S.-backed all-out war policy against the Left and the Philippine National Police's "Oplan Tokhang" ant-drug campaign.

They trooped to the People Power Monument in Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) near the enclave of White Plains in Quezon City, to continue their protest with other leftist groups commemorating the People Power revolution anniversary.