MANILA, PHILIPPINES, OCT. 19, 2016; A Philippine police van rammed into protesters, leaving several bloodied, as an anti-U.S. rally turned violent Wednesday at the American Embassy in Manila.
The van’s driver, police officer Franklin Kho, told reporters he did not deliberately hit the protesters but was trying to drive away from them because they were hitting the vehicle with wooden clubs and he feared they would commandeer it and use it to attack other policemen. “They were already trying to seize the vehicle,” Kho told reporters.
TV footage showed the van repeatedly ramming the protesters as it drove wildly back and forth after activists surrounded and started hitting it with the wooden batons they seized from police.
In front of horrified crowds, the van suddenly charged backward then sprinted forward twice over a space of about 20 meters (60 feet), barreling through the scattered protesters and hurtling some to the side like bowling pins. A few were run over but somehow managed to stand.
Some screamed in surprise, others hurled stones at the van and yelled invectives. A speaker called the police “puppies of imperialists” on a loudspeaker.
At least three student activists were taken to a hospital after they were run over by the van, protest leader Renato Reyes said.
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