Philippines: Manila squatters clash with police

25 September: More than a dozen people have been injured in Manila as riot police moved-in to clear a squatter settlement in an old Philippines Government compound.

Families had refused to move as they had been offered relocation to an area more than 70 kilometres from Manila where there was little chance of finding employment.

Volleys of rocks, bottles and Molotov cocktails just delayed the inevitable, earning retaliation from water cannon and tear gas.

Several people were arrested and people on both side of the battle lines suffered injuries.

About 250 families had lived in the abandoned government compound in Makati, just a few kilometres away from the central business district.

The community had received plenty of warning to move on with authorities saying they’d exercised maximum tolerance.

Local resident Nora Abarquez says some were able to remove their meagre possessions but others lost everything as the bulldozers and demolition teams moved in.

“They did not have any pity on us,” she said

“We were already outside on the pavement and had evacuated our house because the demolition team with bulldozers was already here.

“They did not give us any chance to pack properly. They just attacked us with tear gas.”

The slum will be replaced by a multi-storey government office building.

More than two million people in Metro Manila, or roughly one fifth of the sprawling city’s population, live in shanty towns as so-called informal settlers.

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