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Manila police block protesters near US Embassy

MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Philippine riot police have blocked hundreds of left-wing protesters and farmers from marching toward the U.S. Embassy in Manila to demand land and to protest the presence of American troops in the country.

Police used fiberglass shields and wooden batons Tuesday to stop about 1,000 protesters from getting close to the heavily secured American compound, sparking a brief scuffle. No arrests were made and the protesters later dispersed peacefully.

The protesters slammed the government’s land reform program as ineffective and said the presence of U.S. counterterrorism troops in the south has undermined Philippine independence.

The protests were staged as the country celebrated its declaration of independence from centuries of Spanish colonization in 1898.

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