A Philippine police van rammed into protesters, leaving several bloodied, as an anti-US rally turned violent Wednesday at the American Embassy in Manila. At least three student activists had to be taken to a hospital after they were run over by the van driven by a police officer, protest leader Renato Reyes tells the AP. TV footage showed the van repeatedly ramming the protesters as it drove wildly back and forth after protesters had surrounded and started hitting the van with wooden batons they had seized from the police. Police later arrested 23 protesters, who broke into a line of riot police and hurled red paint at the policemen and a US government seal at the embassy.
"There was absolutely no justification for it," Reyes says of the violent police dispersal of about 1,000 protesters. "Even as the president vowed an independent foreign policy, Philippine police forces still act as running dogs of the US." The violence happened as the protesters gathered to demand an end to the presence of US troops in the country and to support a call by President Rodrigo Duterte, who is on a state visit to China, for a foreign policy not dependent on the US. Duterte has tried to reach out to China and Russia, bringing uncertainty to his country's long alliance with America. (Earlier this month, Duterte said he is "breaking up" with the US and President Obama can "go to hell.")