MANILA, PHILIPPINES — A rally in Manila turned deadly on Wednesday after a police van rammed and nearly killed dozens of protesters.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that more than a thousand mostly indigenous and Moro peoples were outside the American embassy on Wednesday to protest the U.S. military presence in the country.
As the rally was about to end, Marcelino Pedrozo, ground commander and Deputy Director for Operations of the Manila Police District, arrived and ordered a violent dispersal. He was caught on video berating his men for not fighting back, causing them to lose face with the embassy, according to GMA News.
After anti-riot police threw tear gas to break up the activists, one officer, Franklin Kho, decided it would be easier to just run them over.
Videos taken at the scene show the van driving wildly back and forth, repeatedly running over a number of activists.
Three were seriously injured, while another 10 were taken to the hospital, reports the Philippine Star.
Pedrozo later defended the driver, claiming he didn’t intend to run anyone over, and was merely trying to get the vehicle out of the fray. Pedrozo, the van driver and seven others have since been relieved from their posts.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who’s currently rubbing elbows with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, has promised a probe on the incident.