Demonstrators protesting the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation gathering in Manila, clashed with police Tuesday, just as the talks were about to begin. The protesters say the summit is it is a vehicle for corporations and rich nations to protect their interests at the expense of smaller economies. Rough cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Around 150 demonstrators protested in Manila on Tuesday afternoon (November 17), just a few hours before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting kicked off. The protesters attempted to march to a major road leading to the venues of the summit meeting, but were blocked by police who erected impromptu fences halfway through. Shield-toting riot police scuffled with the demonstrators, who were chanting activist slogans and waving anti-APEC banners. Some of the protesters fainted in the ensuing melee. The demonstrators criticized what they said was the APEC's imperialist agenda. "We have a puppet government, we have a government that is a puppet, a fascist government -- a puppet of Obama, a puppet of Xi Jinping, a puppet of the APEC. This is what they're doing," said Vencer Crisostomo, chairman of the youth nationalist group Anakbayan (Nation's Child). Human rights and pro-labor groups have been protesting against the APEC summit, saying it is a vehicle for corporations and rich nations to protect their interests at the expense of smaller economies. APEC, which accounts for 60 percent of global output and nearly half of world trade, is aiming for a larger free-trade area for its 21 economies by 2025, but a re-emergence in some states of protectionism as growth stutters could be a hindrance.