4:09 pm | Tuesday, August 6th, 2013
MANILA, Philippines – Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) on Tuesday slammed the detention of the foreign activist who confronted the “crying cop” in the protest rallies during President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) saying it was “plain harassment.”
“We strongly denounce the detention of Dutch activist Thomas van Beersum by the Bureau of Immigration (BI). Thomas was prevented from boarding his flight this (Tuesday) morning and is being held by Immigration officials at the NAIA,” Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes said in a statement.
“Thomas was already leaving the Philippines and we see no reason to detain him. This is plain harassment in light of the many threats issued by the BI against Thomas during the past two weeks,” he said.
Beersum was seen in a photograph shouting at PO1 Joselito Sevilla who later became known as the “crying cop” during the SONA protest rally along Commonwealth Avenue.
Reyes said that Beersum was in the country to meet with various people’s organizations and to support the causes they have been calling for.
“Thomas was in the Philippines to visit different people’s organizations and show solidarity with their struggles,” Reyes said.
“Though a citizen of the Netherlands, he has embraced the struggle of the Filipino people and is aware of the many issues confronting the Philippines,” he added.
Reyes said that no cases have been filed against Beersum and that he has not been allowed to meet with his counsel Atty. Rey Cortez from the National Union of People’s Lawyers.
“The detention comes in the wake of a successful International Conference on Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (ICHRPP). More than a hundred human rights defenders from abroad in fact joined the SONA protests to show support for the Filipino people’s struggle,” Reyes said.
“We demand that the Aquino regime stop its harassment of foreign activists showing solidarity with the struggles of the Filipino people,” he added. “Prior to SONA, the ICHRPP was subjected to heavy surveillance by state security forces, two of whom were apprehended during the conference itself.”
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