Protest mars Independence Day celebration at PH Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Protest mars Independence Day celebration at PH Embassy in Washington, D.C.

6/17/2021 12:15:00 AM

Protest mars Independence Day celebration at PH Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Protest marred the twin celebration of the 123rd anniversary of the Philippine Independence Day and the 75th year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Philippines at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., Tuesday night (Wednesday morning in Manila).

A group of protesters numbering about 50 people held placards and streamers outside the Philippine Embassy calling for the end of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the ouster of President Duterte.Protesters holding placards and streamers conduct a rally outside the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. during the twin celebration of the 123rd Philippine Independence Day and the 75th anniversary of the United States-Philippines Bilateral Relations. (Contributed photo)

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One of the event attendees who spoke on anonymity said the rally, which was “peaceful“ and “festive”, nearly interrupted the flow of the celebration being held in two separate Philippine Embassy buildings on Massachusetts Avenue.DC Police and Secret Service operatives were reportedly called in to block and monitor the protesters and escort foreign guests to and from the event site.

Meanwhile, about 20 Filipino-American frontliners and community leaders invited to grace the event were reportedly segregated at the Old Chancery and were prevented from attending the “lavish” Independence Day event at the main Embassy building across the street.

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez speaks before the Filipino-American attendees of the 123rd Philippine Indep[endence Day celebration at the Old Chancery building in Washington, D.C. (Contributed photo)Romualdez reportedly spoke to them briefly and told them to “eat the food and drink the wine” but afterward left the Old Chancery only to transfer to the other building where an elaborate tent and sound system were set up for the main celebration.

Among those who were reportedly seen attending the main celebration were “close friends” of Romualdez, officers, and members of the lobbyist group United States-Philippine Society, and a couple of congressional people from Capitol Hill.“The handful of us locals doesn’t know the activities across the street. We cannot cross to the other side because we were told that our names were not listed there,” one of the attendees told the Manila Bulletin in a text message.

Although the food and alcohol drinks were also free-flowing at the Old Chancery, the source said what they missed was the traditional toast to celebrate the country’s 123rd Independence Day.“That’s what we came here for, after all. This is not just about the food and alcohol, this is our Independence Day,” the source added.

Read more: Manila Bulletin News »

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