#PRIDE20: Queer activists, supporters arrested during a Pride Protest

“There is no other way to describe this violent dispersal as a blatant attack on the LGBTQ+ community and its long history of militant resistance against State repression, especially amid the looming passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill.”

BY AARON MACARAEG
Bulatlat.com

MANILA– LGBTQIA+ activists and their allies came to celebrate on Thursday, June 26 the 51st anniversary of the historic Stonewall Protest and Pride in a form of protest in Mendiola, Manila City, and what happened proves nothing much has changed. They were violently dispersed, physically harassed, and ilegally arrested.

At least 20 members of Bahaghari, Children’s Rehabilitation Center, and Gabriela Women’s Party were arrested, 13 of whom are members of LGBTQIA+.

Rey Salinas, spokesperson of Bahaghari, said they did not violate quarantine protocols during their peaceful protest.

In a video coverage of Altermidya, the protesters were wearing masks and followed physical distancing.

While aboard a police mobile, Salinas tweeted, “Hinuli man kami ngayon, walang pandemiya, walang lockdown, at mas lalong walang mga pasistang baboy ang makapipigil ng pagsinag ng Bahaghari.”

In a video posted by Bahaghari in their Twitter account, Salinas narrated that policemen in full combat riot gear suddenly dispersed their ranks.

“We were asking for their names, they did not give us any. They never read Miranda rights. They are not disclosing our violations,” said Salinas.

She added that the arrest of Pride20 justifies the need for the queers to stand up against the militarist action of the national government in addressing the pandemic as well as the impending passage of Anti-Terrorism Bill.

Pride20 spent the night at the Manila Police District (MPD) headquarters with many of them having to sleep on the floor. As of this writing, they are undergoing inquest at the Manila Prosecutor’s Office.

In a statement, human rights group Karapatan said MPD police has no legal basis citing the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act as a violation of quarantine procedure.

“There is no other way to describe this violent dispersal as a blatant attack on the LGBTQIA+ community and its long history of militant resistance against State repression, especially amid the looming passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.

She assailed that the arrest is an attack on democratic rights, adding, “Police has just been openly shameless arresting LGBTQIA+ in a Pride Month itself.”

A true Queen

Catriona Gray, former Ms. Universe who’s been very vocal in political issues in the country tweeted sympathy for Pride20 and questioned the motive of the police regarding the arrest.

“If proper health guidelines were being followed, (social distancing, mask wearing) why the use of force? Why the withholding of rights (witnesses said they were not read their miranda rights before arrest nor given reason of arrest)? Videos circulating online confirm this,” Gray tweeted.

She ended her Twitter thread urging her followers to speak up and reminded everyone that, “Pride, since the beginning has been a protest.”(https://www.bulatlat.com)

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