Manila Prosecutor’s Office orders release of ‘Pride 20’ pending investigation
Government prosecutors on Thursday ordered the release of 20 individuals arrested during the Pride March protest in Manila last Friday.
Lawyer Minnie Lopez, counsel of the protesters, disclosed that the Manila Prosecutor’s Office agreed to release them pending investigation on the case.
As of this writing, Lopez, friends, and relatives of the protesters are still waiting for the release order.
Following their arrest, members of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer group Bahaghari and other allied individuals from Salinlahi were turned over to Manila Police District (MPD) headquarters.
This came after they held a Pride March along Avenida Avenue and gathered in Mendiola to call for the abolition of the anti-terrorism bill and to express their opposition to the planned jeepney phase-out.
Rey Salinas, Bahaghari’s spokesperson and one of those arrested, said they were observing social distancing and peacefully holding protest actions when they were “violently” dispersed by police. It was backed by several photos posted on social media.
However, Lt. Col. Carlo Manuel, head of the MPD public information office, said that one rallyist “instigated” the commotion after trying to spray-paint the police deployed to the area.
“Maayos silang kinakausap. Then, may isang nag-instigate na isang myembro ng nagra-rally na parang may i-spray sa kanila [pulis] at doon nagsimula ‘yung kaguluhan, ‘yung commotion. So ang purpose lang naman ng ating kapulisan, kausapin sila at paki-usapan na i-disperse ang kanilang hanay since wala naman silang permit, “Manuel said in an interview with reporters.
Manuel said the arrested individuals face charges for non-cooperation in a health crisis and for illegal assembly, since they did not have a permit to hold a protest.#