A United Methodist Church compound is giving sanctuary to 4,000 farmers and indigenous people after a protest for food relief turned deadly on April 1.
Three protesters were killed and more than 100 injured when security forces fired on the crowd blocking a major highway. Protesters poured into the Spottswood Methodist Mission Center for refuge and the compound is now surrounded by police. Police conducted a search of those at the Spottswood Methodist Mission Center on April 2 but no guns were found.
Manila Area United Methodist Bishop Rodolfo A. Juan condemned the search and threats to Davao Episcopal Area Bishop Ciriaco Q. Francisco in an April 6 statement.
Juan said Francisco is “being threatened and harrassed for harboring ‘illegal protesters.’ ” He called on United Methodists everywhere to support the farmers and uphold them in prayer.
Juan led a candlelight ceremony on April 3 to pray for the farmers and Lumads, an indigenous people of the Philippines. More than 100 people joined the vigil in front of the Central United Methodist Church.