Philippines police and protesters clash outside the APEC summit in Manila

Student protesters clash with Philippine police during a rally near the venue of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, in Manila November 19, 2015. © Cheryl Gagalac
Riot gear and water cannons were used as protesters tried to get past the barricades that prevented outsiders from reaching the venue.

The protesters from the local Bayan (Nation) group were kept about 1 kilometer from the Philippine International Convention Center, where the leaders were arriving for the APEC summit’s morning session. Local estimates put the size of the crowd at around 2,000 people. No official figures have yet been given. 

The rioters shouted “Junk APEC!” in protest at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group, whose 21 members were meeting in the Philippines capital. The guests include US President Barack Obama, Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev, Chinese President Xi Jinping and other world leaders.

Protesters criticized APEC for its alleged support of corporate interests and its neglect of the world’s poor. “[President Corazon] Aquino should protect his people, globalization has caused the prices of our goods to go down. We barely break even,” rice farmer Nia Floresca, 47, told AFP.

The police number around 20,000, together with soldiers. The forces were deployed this week for the summit, which has become the Philippines’ largest-ever security operation. Security measures were ramped up after the Paris attacks a few days ago, AFP reported.