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July 4 marked by protest vs US role in Marawi war

Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) on Tuesday trooped near the United States Embassy on Roxas Boulevard in Manila to protest the American role in the war against the Islamic State-linked Maute terrorist group in Marawi City.

Renato Reyes, secretary general of Bayan, said the rally was held on the day the US marked its 241st Independence Day to criticize President Rodrigo Duterte for allowing US troops to join the war against the Maute terrorists.

"History tells us that the presence of American military in all places almost always have bad effects," said Reyes, citing the unstable situations in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

He, however, clarified that Bayan was for the annihilation of the Maute terror group, which attacked Marawi on May 23 and forced Duterte to declare martial law.

The government and the US embassy have clarified that US troops were merely providing "technical assistance" and won't join combat operations.

The more than 100 Bayan protesters had no choice but to hold a short program at the corner of United Nations and Marcelo H. del Pilar avenues when some 200 anti-riot police barricaded Roxas Boulevard to prevent them from getting near the embassy.

"We started our walk from Kalaw Street only to find out that the police have occupied this corner," Reyes said.

Reyes and his group arrived at del Pilar Street at 9:30 a.m. and after an hour moved to nearby Padre Faura Street, where they held another rally to condemn Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

[Source: By Jaime Pilapil, The Manila Times, Manila, 04Jul17]

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