Po­lice de­fend sonic weapon use vs pro­test­ers

Sun.Star Davao - - TOP STORIES -

MANILA - Po­lice de­fended Tues­day the use of a sonic weapon to dis­perse pro­test­ers as mil­i­tant groups con­demned the move, de­scrib­ing it as “a new level of state vi­o­lence.”

Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion Po­lice Of­fice (NCRPO) Di­rec­tor Os­car Al­bay­alde said the long range acous­tic de­vice (LRAD) that riot po­lice used dur­ing Mon­day’s clash with pro­test­ers in Manila is not fa­tal and causes only dis­com­fort.

Bayan Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Re­nato Reyes, on the other hand, said the sonic weapon can harm one’s hear­ing while Gabriela Women’s Party Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Emmi de Je­sus and Ar­lene Brosas said the weapon causes hear­ing trauma, per­ma­nent hear­ing loss and lin­ger­ing headaches.

De Je­sus and Brosas said they plan to file a res­o­lu­tion seek­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the use of such a de­vice, which they de­scribed as an anti-peo­ple weapon.

On Mon­day, pro­test­ers from dif­fer­ent mil­i­tant groups clashed with riot po­lice as they at­tempted to march to­wards the Philippine In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, where the 31st As­so­ci­a­tion of the South­east Asian Na­tion (Asean) Lead­ers Sum­mit is be­ing held.

Riot po­lice used wa­ter and sound can­nons to stop the pro­test­ers, who have started to breach the bar­ri­cade. At least six po­lice­men and 10 ral­ly­ists were hurt, ac­cord­ing to the Manila Po­lice District.

On its web­site, LRAD Corp. de­scribed its long range acous­tic de­vice as a long-range com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem used to broad­cast warn­ing tones and highly in­tel­li­gi­ble voice mes­sages to po­ten­tial threats from close range up to three kilo­me­ters.

Al­bay­alde said the de­vice does not have any harm­ful ef­fect.

“Gi­nagamit po iyan ta­laga dur­ing hindi mo na ta­laga ma-kon­trol ang mga raliy­ista ka­gaya ka­hapon, sinak­tan na at pilit silang lu­mu­lu­sot doon sa barikada (It is used when you can no longer con­trol the ral­ly­ists just like yes­ter­day when they were forc­ing through the bar­ri­cades),” NCRPO di­rec­tor .

“Mas masakit po iyung wa­ter can­non lalo na ‘pag so­brang lakas ang pres­sure, para ka na pong si­n­un­tok n’yan (The wa­ter can­non is more painful es­pe­cially if it’s high pres­sure. It’s like be­ing punched),” he added.

Reyes de­nied that the pro­test­ers had be­come vi­o­lent.

“Hindi to­too na ang mga nagpo-protesta ay mara­has. Ang to­too po

ang nakita natin tinam­bakan tayo ng mga pulis, trucks, shield and trun­cheons at pag may ka­harap na ganyang klase ng pa­sismo ang tungkulin po namin ay i-defy o i-re­sist at ‘yun ang gi­nawa namin ka­hapon at tu­mu­lak ang mga nagpo-protesta dahil ayaw ni­lang tang­gapin ang ang hindi makatarun­gan re­stric­tion na gi­na­gawa ng ka­pulisan,” he said.

(It is not true that the pro­test­ers had be­come vi­o­lent. The truth is, we were bom­barded by po­lice of­fi­cers, trucks, shields and trun­cheons and when we face such fas­cism, our re­spon­si­bil­ity is to defy or re­sist and that is what we did yes­ter­day. What the po­lice did was not fair.) SunS­tar Philip­pines

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