Video Shows Police Van Ramming Into Protesters in Philippines

A dramatic video from a demonstration in Manila, Philippines, today captured the moment a police van appears to ram into a crowd of protesters.

The incident happened outside the U.S. embassy in the country's capital, according to ABS-CBN News, the news division of the largest entertainment and media network in the Philippines.

Hundreds of Filipino activists -- most from a left-wing umbrella group called Bayan, which means "nation" -- had been protesting American intervention and military presence with signs like "U.S. TROOPS OUT NOW" and "NO TO U.S. INTERVENTION" when the demonstration took a violent turn, ABS-CBN reported.

Photos and videos from the event appear to show police throwing tear gas at protesters, and, at one point, dousing them with a powerful spray of water from a fire truck hose. The photos and video also appear to show protesters hurling red paint and rocks at police and the U.S. embassy building.

One video clip appears to show a police vehicle moving backwards and forwards through a group of protesters, and appearing to run some people over. The crowd screamed in response, and some protesters appeared to throw rocks and red paint at the van, the video shows.

The driver of the van, Police Officer Franklin Kho, told ABS-CBN News that demonstrators had been trying to take the vehicle from police, so he was forced to get in and drive it. He added that police and more people would have been hurt if protesters got in the vehicle.

At least three student activists were taken to a hospital after they were run over by the van, said protest leader Renato Reyes, according to The Associated Press. He added that 29 people were arrested during the clashes.

"There was absolutely no justification for it," Reyes said, according to the AP. "Even as the president vowed an independent foreign policy, Philippine police forces still act as running dogs of the U.S."

The national police said in a statement that the violent dispersal was "unfortunate" and an investigation would be launched to determine if police followed crowd-control procedures, the AP reported. Police added that investigators would also evaluate the possible criminal and civil liabilities of the protesters for an alleged illegal mass assembly.
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