Police use Katy Perry songs to disperse protesters
Manila: Philippine police deployed Katy Perry pop songs to disperse protesters at an Asia-Pacific leaders’ summit yesterday, enraging some demonstrators but amusing others.
Hundreds of left-wing protesters rallied outside a venue where US President Barack Obama and other leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group were meeting. The rally edged towards violence when protesters tried to break through lines of police to reach the summit venue. Police responded by firing water cannons and scuffled with protesters.
Philippine riot police block protesters marching to voice their opposition to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Manila. pics/ AFP
The police then pulled out their secret weapon: pop princess Katy Perry on giant loudspeakers. Perry’s hit song ‘Roar’ was played at full volume aimed at distracting the protesters and drowning out their chants. Other songs were also deployed against the protesters.
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Many protesters also expressed anger at authorities trying to suppress their message. But others could not hide their amusement. “That was a rude and desperate move,” said 54-year-old rice farmer Redo Pena as he broke into a grin.
Metro Manila police spokeswoman chief inspector Kimberly Gonzales told AFP the music was aimed at de-escalating tensions. “Filipinos in general love music and it has a calming effect for everyone,” Gonzales said.
The Philippines has a famous music culture, with karaoke one of the most popular forms of entertainment across all sectors of society. Gonzales said using music at protest was not an unusual tactic, and there was no intent to trivialise Thursday’s rally.