Riot police counter anti-APEC protesters with loud music

Rally turned into a street party? Riot police on Thursday countered anti-APEC protesters with loud music, the playlist of which included a Katy Perry song.

Photo: YouTube screengrab / INQUIRER.net

Hundreds of left-wing protesters tried to break through lines of police to reach the venue where Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders were meeting, Agence France-Presse reported via ABS-CBN News.

As violence erupted, cops fired water cannons and scuffled with members of militant groups who were chanting "Junk APEC!" then played Perry's hit "Roar" at full volume. It turned out to be a very effective strategy as the protesters were distracted and their chants were drowned out.

Dolly Parton's "Islands In The Stream," the Bee Gee's "How Deep Is Your Love," and songs from Iggy Azalea, Fifth Harmony, Lorde, and the dance hit "Happy" by Square Heads were also deployed. The rallyists reportedly finally retreated to soul classic "My Girl".

Protesters described the PNP's tactic as "ridiculous," "rude," and a "desperate move" to suppress their message of opposition to APEC policies.

Metro Manila police spokeswoman chief inspector Kimberly Gonzales told the news team that the objective in playing music was to reduce tensions.

"Filipinos in general love music and it has a calming effect for everyone. This goes well with our maximum tolerance policy during protests," Gonzales said according to the AFP report.