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Slum dwellers clash with police

At least 16 hurt as forced eviction turns violent

Slum dwellers clash with police
Slum dwellers injured at least 16 policemen reporter, Manila

September 25, 2012

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At least 16 people were injured, most of them policemen, as slum dwellers clashed with city officials trying to demolish shanties in Manila’s central business district yesterday afternoon. Police said 11 "troublemakers" were arrested after officials used fire trucks and heavy equipment to enter a barricaded compound occupied by squatters in  in San Isidro village, Makati City. Earlier in the day, squatters threw stones, bottles and human feces at the officials. The squatters refused to be relocated to Calauan town in nearby Laguna province, said they would lose their livelihoods if they were evicted and transferred there. The government plans to build a multi-purpose hall and a sports complex on the site. City officials said the authorities had given the squatters plenty of notice to leave. Paolo Quiza of the militant group Bayan said Church and non-government groups are "doing their best to help the squatters." "They’re determined to stay and defend their homes, and we can do no less but help them with this," he said. Lito Ojos, head of the local neighborhood committee, said the reasons given by the authorities to demolish their homes were "cruel and hypocritical." "We don’t pose a threat to anyone. We don’t live in a danger zone like a floodway or bridge.... They’re building a sports complex here, how is that for twisted priorities?" he said. Many of the residents have been living in the area since the 1970s, he added. The Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development earlier sent a "letter of concern" to President Benigno Aquino, asking him to help the 236 families in San Isidro village. The group said the letter also urged authorities to stop the eviction of poor families and provide residents with decent work and employment opportunities. The president did not reply to the group's letter. Related reports New-style urban poor need Church help Slum residents face forced eviction

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