Militants marked the first day of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Bacolod City, by staging a protest march from the Provincial Capitol Lagoon Park to the Bacolod Public Plaza, where they held a rally yesterday.
Christian Tuayon, secretary general of Bayan-Negros, said about 300 of them marched down the main thoroughfares of Bacolod to show their opposition to the holding of the APEC conference in Bacolod.
The protest was the start of more protests from Bayan-Negros and other allied groups against the APEC meeting in the city, with an allotted budget of P4.3 billion, Tuayon said.
He said APEC is dominated by the imperialist United States and is a venue where it can impose its neo-liberal policies that leads to globalization and liberalization, affecting small countries such as the Philippines.
Tuayon said they are only exposing the true agenda of imperialist US.
He said they are waiting for augmentation from central and northern Negros to again converge and stage a protest today, as President Benigno Aquino III arrives Bacolod City.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate will join the rallyists, Tuayon said.
Tuayon claimed that some of their forces in the northern part of Negros were held by Special Action Force operatives, near Victorias City.
He said they condemn the act since it is a clear violation of their right to abode and their constitutional right to join protests.
The militants will try to get near the SMX Convention Center where the APEC meeting on disaster risk finance is being held, Tuayon said.
As they were marching towards the SMX Convention Center yesterday afternoon, they were blocked by policemen in full battle gear with shields, near Police Station 1 at Rizal Street.
Metal railings were also placed on the streets to prevent protestors from entering the street leading to SMX Convention Center.
The traffic flow also became congested at Rizal and San Juan streets because of chaos between the protestors and the police.
City Administrator Rolando Villamor negotiated with the protestors, through Sarah Villamor, secretary general of the National Union of People's Lawyers, not to proceed to the SMX Convention Center.
Villamor said the negotiation took place peacefully and the militants agreed to hold their protest near the San Sebastian Cathedral, up to 8 p.m. last night.*SGG
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