Hillary Clinton got a nasty reception on her way out of a meeting with Philippines President Benigno Aquino today, as a crowd of protesters blocked her convoy and tossed red paint and protest signs at it. Filipino security officers and at least one American leapt out with automatic rifles, but no shots were fired, according to an AFP photographer who was on the scene. Riot police fell on the protesters, swinging batons to disperse them, as Clinton’s convoy took another route.
A local leftist youth organization claimed responsibility, saying about 50 of its members had hurled the water-based paint bombs, and that though none were arrested, some were injured. Later, a lone protester interrupted a public meeting with Clinton to shout, “Drop VFA!” meaning the controversial Visiting Forces Agreement which exempts US troops from prosecution in some cases. Clinton downplayed the incident as a good sign that “people are unafraid to express themselves” in the Philippines. (Read more Philippines stories.)