MANILA — Riot police used guns, tear gas and smoke grenades on Friday to break up a rally in front of the U.S. Embassy by about 5,000 demonstrators demanding the removal of American military bases here.
Friday was Philippine-American Friendship Day as well as U.S. Independence Day, and the demonstrators--who were later allowed to resume the rally--carried signs criticizing what they considered U.S. intervention in Philippine affairs.
At least 13 people were injured in the clash, including one protester who was shot in the back and four policemen who were hurt slightly, authorities reported.
It was the most serious clash between police and leftist groups since President Corazon Aquino took power in a civilian-backed military rebellion in February. The uprising ousted President Ferdinand E. Marcos and drove him into exile in Hawaii after 20 years in power.
Holiday Called Meaningless
Speakers elsewhere railed against the U. S. facilties, Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Base, and editorial writers dismissed Friendship Day, a national holiday, as meaningless.
"The Philippines got freedom and independence. Indeed, freedom to think, talk and act like little brown brothers of the supreme white master," the Philippine Tribune said.
"It's bad enough that our hands are chained by the United States' military bases," Randolf David, head of the Third World Center at the University of the Philippines, told a public hearing. "But do we have to fall in love with the chains?"
The demonstrations of anti-American sentiment came on the 40th anniversary of Philippine independence from the United States following World War II.
Less than two hours after the rally was broken up, the protesters returned to the embassy and police allowed them to resume. Leading the demonstrators was former Sen. Lorenzo Tanada, 87, a nationalist leader who has long advocated removal of U.S. military bases from the Philippines.
Tanada told reporters, "What is happening is similar to what happened before under Marcos. I participated in many rallies under Marcos and they dispersed us with tear gas, truncheons, water hoses and even firearms."