Kidapawan protesters face criminal complaints

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The farmers who joined the protest action said a sack of rice had been promised to those who would join the gathering.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Dozens of farmers who joined a protest rally that ended up in a violent dispersal last week are now facing criminal complaints.

Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph Evangelista said on Monday (April 4) that around 43 farmers — who were detained at the city gymnasuim — were being held liable for possible illegal assembly and direct assault against persons in authority, among others.

Related: Santiago, Duterte call Kidapawan violence 'inhuman,' 'barbaric'

City Prosecutor Melvin Lamata also confirmed that there were already complaints filed against the protesters who gathered last Friday along the Davao-Cotabato Highway.

There was no information, however, as to whether or not the fiscal found probable causes on the complaints.

City Deputy Chief of Police Sr. Insp. Andres Sumugat added that more raps were being readied against the protesters.

Meanwhile, Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza said the provincial government would be offering free legal assistance to the farmers — should they ask for it.

Davao City-based correspondent Ben Tesiorna and Kidapawan City-based correspondent Abner Francisco contributed to this report.