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Belmonte hits violent dispersal of student protesters

MANILA, Philippines — Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte yesterday condemned the violent dispersal of students who protested outside the House of Representatives on Monday.

Belmonte said she reminded Quezon City Police District chief Brig. Gen. Redrico Maranan not to tolerate the incident.

“I vehemently condemn the violent dispersal by the police of students who were expressing their position regarding an important issue at the House of Representatives,” she said.

“There is no room for this kind of action in our city, especially since Quezon City is known to be a place where different groups can freely gather and express their grievances and rights,” she said.

Several students from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines were reportedly hurt during the dispersal of the protest, which was held in time with the House committee hearing on the proposed National Polytechnic University bills.

According to Belmonte, Maranan has directed the police’s Internal Affairs Service to investigate if there were violations of police operational procedures.

Maranan also met with the commander of the Batasan police station and directed him to remind personnel regarding the appropriate action during protests, the mayor said.

In a separate statement, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) reminded law enforcement agents that civilians have the constitutional right to peaceably assemble in public.

The CHR said it has dispatched a quick response operation to look into the incident and vowed to continue to be alert regarding alleged human rights violations.