11 activists arrested in Laguna Anti-Terrorism Law protest, says youth group

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 4) — Eleven activists were arrested during a protest action in Cabuyao, Laguna against the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act, a youth group claimed on Saturday.

Kabataan Partylist Laguna said its secretary-general Marife Valdeavilla was among those apprehended in Barangay Pulo while holding a "peaceful" protest rally against the law which the President signed on Friday.

The group claimed that suspected members of the military approached and arrested the protesters as they were about to leave the protest area. CNN Philippines has reached out to the military and police for comment.

"Hindi pa naipatutupad ang batas, ganito na agad kasahol ang ginagawa ng mga pulis laban sa kung sino mang magsalita laban sa pamahalaan," said Justin Umali, Chairperson of Kabataan Partylist Laguna, in a statement.

"Hindi pa naipatutupad ang batas, ganito na agad kasahol ang ginagawa ng mga pulis laban sa kung sino mang magsalita laban sa pamahalaan," said Justin Umali, Chairperson of Kabataan Partylist Laguna, in a statement.

Some netizens have voiced their outrage over the protesters' arrest, making the topic "#FreeCabuyao11" trend on Twitter.

A spot report issued by police on Sunday said two of those arrested in the protest were minors.

According to the report, the protesters staged an "unpermitted road side rally" and were also not following social distancing protocols.

The report added members of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police tried to disperse the protesters, but said they resisted, and therefore were arrested.

"Recovered from their possession and control were banner, placards, pamphlets, speaker and speaker which are now in the custody of this station for proper disposition," said the report.

The arrest of the protesters wouldn’t be the first by authorities in recent days. On Tuesday, 20 participants in a Pride rally were rounded up for allegedly violating health safety protocols. Sixteen other protesters were detained on Independence Day for the same offense.