Pride protesters arrested at rally against anti-terror bill in Mendiola

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 26) — Members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community were arrested on Friday in Mendiola, Manila after holding a protest rally against the anti-terror bill and other pressing issues.

Around 20 demonstrators were apprehended at 10:30 a.m. and brought to the Manila Police District headquarters, according to MPD Chief Public Information Officer Lt. Col. Carlo Magno Manuel.

“Napansin sila ng kapulisan at nilapitan. Tinanong kung may permit at wala silang maipakita,” Manuel said. “Hindi sila intensyon hulihin.”

[Translation: They were noticed and approached by the police. They were asked if they had a permit, but they couldn't show one. It is not our intention to arrest them.]

Manuel added that one protester “agitated” one of the policemen, which started the commotion.

On the other hand, Bahaghari National Spokesperson Rey Valmores Salinas claimed that the protest was peaceful until the police came at the scene. Salinas added that the rallyists practiced social distancing and other safety protocols.

Salinas said the MPD did not notify the protesters what charges will be filed against them.

“Hanggang ngayon ay wala pang sinasabi sa amin kung ano ba talaga ang nilabag namin,” Salinas said in a video interview posted on Twitter.

[Translation: Until now they haven’t told us the laws that we violated.]

However, in a phone interview with CNN Philippines, Manuel enumerated the charges to be filed. Among them are illegal assembly, unjust vexation, and violation of R.A. 1132 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

Aside from the controversial anti-terror bill, the group also protested against the jeepney phase out, the LGBTQ+ discrimination, and mass testing.

Pride month is annually celebrated in June.