HUNDREDS INJURED AS COPS BLOCK MILITANTS FROM EDSA2 RITES

Mandaluyong City, Jan. 20, 2003 - Police stopped militants from getting near the EDSA Shrine, where President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and guests were attending a mass for the second anniversary of People Power II at noon today.

Party list Representative Satur Ocampo slammed police authorities for their violent response in which hundreds were reportedly injured.

"We do not mean violence. We are holding a peaceful demonstration and want to get to the shrine because we believe we have a right to take part in the celebrations," Ocampo said.

About a thousand protesters from the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), Gabriela, Karapatan, Bayan Muna, and Anakbayan tried to reach the shrine, where a popular people's uprising in 2001 deposed Joseph Estrada from the presidency and installed then Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The militants were among the groups who packed EDSA during the 2001 revolt. They claimed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo failed to live up to the legacy of EDSA II as she has become subservient to the dictates of the United States. They also charge that her administration is mired in graft and corruption.

Metro Manila police deployed thousands of officers in an attempt to avert violence during Monday's rallies.

The water cannons tore down the demonstrators' huge posters and banners. They also soaked the sound system mounted atop a truck that served as the rallyists' stage.


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