Demand for Release of Activists Arrested on Labor Day: Calls for Investigation and Protection of Civil Liberties

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Protest Action for the Release of the “Mayo Uno 6”

Members of militant groups staged a protest action in front of the Manila City Hall on Monday, demanding the immediate release of the so-called “Mayo Uno 6.” This refers to the six activists who were arrested on Labor Day.

Arrest of Activists on Labor Day

Reports indicate that three of those arrested were students from the University of the Philippines Diliman, one from UP Manila, and two from the Anakbayan group. The activists were taken into custody during a Labor Day rally.

Clash with Law Enforcement

During the Labor Day rally, the police barricaded the protesters on Kalaw Avenue in an effort to disperse the group. Firefighters also used water cannons to prevent the militants from breaching the rows of police blocking their way. Unfortunately, several protesters were injured in the clash with the anti-riot policemen wielding truncheons and shields.

Legal Basis for Arrest

According to Manila Police District (MPD) spokesman Maj. Philipp Ines, the six activists were arrested for violating the Revised Penal Code 151, which pertains to resistance and disobedience to a person in authority, and Revised Penal Code 115, which deals with conspiracy and proposal to commit treason.

Support from Mass Organizations

Various mass organizations, including the International League of Peoples’ Struggle-Philippines, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Gabriela Philippines, Anakbayan, and others, joined the protest action. They called for the immediate release of the six activists and urged a quick and impartial investigation into the MPD’s failure to observe maximum tolerance during the rally, which they considered a “peaceful mobilization.”

Defense of Freedom of Speech and Peaceful Assembly

Anakbayan, one of the participating organizations, stated, “We also maintain that the arrest was unjustified given that the protesters were merely exercising their right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.”

It is important to understand the context and local laws when analyzing such events. In the Philippines, freedom of speech and peaceful assembly are protected rights. Citizens have the right to express their opinions and gather in public spaces to voice their concerns. However, there are legal limitations to these rights, and law enforcement agencies are tasked with maintaining order and ensuring public safety.

In this case, the activists were arrested for allegedly violating specific provisions of the Revised Penal Code. The charges of resistance and disobedience to a person in authority, as well as conspiracy and proposal to commit treason, are serious offenses under Philippine law. The authorities claim that the arrest was justified based on these alleged violations.

International Perspective

From an international perspective, it is crucial to consider the rights and freedoms protected under international law. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which the Philippines is a signatory, upholds the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. These rights are essential pillars of a democratic society and enable individuals to participate in public discourse and advocate for social change.

However, the interpretation and implementation of these rights may vary across different countries and legal systems. While the activists argue that their arrest was unjustified, it is important to await the outcome of any investigation into the events surrounding the Labor Day rally. A thorough and impartial investigation will provide clarity on whether the authorities violated the activists’ rights or if their arrest was justified under local laws.

The Role of Law Enforcement

Law enforcement agencies play a crucial role in maintaining peace and order during public gatherings. Their primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of all individuals involved, including protesters, bystanders, and themselves. In this case, the police barricaded the protesters and used water cannons to disperse the crowd.

The decision to employ water cannons and the use of force by the anti-riot policemen should be evaluated within the framework of local laws and regulations. It is essential to determine whether the actions taken by law enforcement were proportionate and necessary to maintain public order and safety. Any excessive use of force or violations of human rights must be thoroughly investigated and addressed.


The protest action for the release of the “Mayo Uno 6” highlights the ongoing tensions between activists advocating for their rights and law enforcement tasked with maintaining order. While the activists argue that their arrest was unjustified, it is important to consider the legal basis for their detention and await the outcome of any investigation into the events.

Freedom of speech and peaceful assembly are fundamental rights that should be protected and respected. Any limitations on these rights should be in accordance with international standards and local laws. It is crucial for authorities to uphold the principles of maximum tolerance and ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals involved in public gatherings.

As the situation unfolds, it is essential to continue monitoring developments and support the pursuit of justice and the protection of human rights for all parties involved.

Source: The Manila Times

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