Philippine security forces used water cannons to prevent hundreds of demonstrators from disrupting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting on Thursday (November 19), as leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama were gathering for the group photograph that is customary at the annual event.
The protesters, from the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance) left-wing activist group, were kept about a kilometre (a half mile) from the Philippine International Convention Center where the leaders, also including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, were arriving for the second and last day of the summit.
At least one policeman was injured, the Philippine National Police spokesperson Wilben Mayor told reporters. He appealed to protesters to halt these kinds of actions but said they would exercise maximum tolerance.
The demonstrators chanted slogans such as "We will struggle!" and "Junk APEC!" while anti-riot police pushed the crowd back.
The activists, who have decried Manila's hosting of the summit, said their protests would continue despite heavy security.
"These demonstrations will not stop, even if it means we have to go head-to-head against the entire police force and we have to break through all the barriers. The youth have been doing this for several days already, and we will not stop because we want the whole world to know just how much the Filipino people puke on the APEC," said Charisse Bernadine Banez, the national chairperson of the League of Filipino Students activist group.
Human rights and pro-labour groups have been protesting against the APEC summit, saying it works to benefit only multinationals and rich countries at the expense of developing 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.
Regional tensions over the South China Sea and security concerns after the attack by Islamist militants on Paris could eclipse efforts by Pacific-Rim leaders this week to boost trade and growth across a region of around three billion people.
Around 30,000 soldiers and police have been deployed in the Philippine capital to protect the leaders. Philippine officials have said there has been no intelligence suggesting a major threat to the Manila summit.
Philippine authorities have closed several roads and highway lanes for the exclusive use of delegates' vehicles to allow leaders to get to the meeting venues smoothly.
President Obama and many Southeast Asia nations attending the Manila trade talks will proceed on to Malaysia for a regional summit. The South China Sea row, the spectre of terrorism and the US-led Trans Pacific Partnership free trade pact are likely to again be the main subjects of discussion in Malaysia.