Dutch urges SONA 'crying cop': Join protesters
Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - July 24, 2013 - 4:11pm

MANILA, Philippines - A Dutch national who joined the protests during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday has written an open letter to a policeman who broke into tears while trying to disperse the rallyists.

Thomas van Beersum, who came to the country as a delegate of the International Conference on Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines, said he attended the SONA protest because he had been "outraged by the human rights violations committed by the corrupt Aquino regime."

"I am tired of the extrajudicial killings, the illegal arrests, the forced demolitions, the land-grabbings, the puppetry to US-imperialism, tired of all the oppression and exploitation of the workers, farmers, students, women, indigenous, urban poor, LGBTs, and all other oppressed groups," he said in his open letter posted on his Facebook page.

But as van Beersum joined the protest, he happened to face policeman Joselito Sevilla, who is now known as the "crying cop" after going emotional during the violence that ensued in the protests.

Van Beersum claimed that he was part of the group of "peaceful protesters" in the front who were beaten with police truncheons.

The Dutch national said he got angry and started shouting at the police officer standing in front of him, who happens to be Sevilla.

Beersum said Sevilla was flashing a peace sign while saying "relax, relax."

"I write this letter because unlike the other police at the protest, you did not act violently like your mates and you did not attack us. You did what you thought was right. You were confronted with the repressive character of the police and did not follow the orders of your superiors. This is a noble act."

As the violence went on during the protest, van Beersum said Sevilla did not join the policemen who started to push the rallyists away.

"You stayed at the same place, crying behind your shield. I was wondering whether you did not attack us because you were overwhelmed of the situation, or if you had a genuine realization about who was causing this excessive use of repressive violence," van Beersum noted.

While he praised Sevilla for his actions, van Beersum also urged him to "take responsibility" and join protesters in opposing "the crimes of the state and against the violent forces that exist purely to defend that state."

"You alone are responsible for your actions. I hope to see you again next year, during the SONA protest of 2014. But then I hope that we will be on the same side... Together in upholding the interests of the Filipino people," van Beersum concluded.

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