Police in Philippines Use Katy Perry’s Music to Disperse Protesters
A few weeks ago, U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders met with the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Manila, Philippines to discuss matters of globalization and free-trade policies. But things turned sour as left-wing protesters gathered outside the venue to express their opposition to APEC's free-trade agenda.
When protesters took to violence in an attempt to break through police barricades, police responded in both orthodox and slightly less orthodox methods, according to Yahoo! News. Police initially used water cannons and hand-to-hand scuffling to dispel the protesters, but when those methods didn't work, they unleashed their secret weapon: Queen of Confections Katy Perry.
They blasted Katy Perry's hit song "Roar" over the loudspeakers both to distract the protesters and to drown out their chants of "Junk APEC!" Police reportedly joined in by tapping their batons against their shields in time with the music. Other songs on their "demonstration disco playlist" included Dolly Parton's "Islands in the Stream," David Guetta's "Sexy Bitch," and the Bee Gee's "How Deep Is Your Love."
If you think the whole scene sounds too comical to be true, well, you're not alone. Most protesters did not take kindly to the police's "ridiculous" attempt to suppress their opposition, expressing concern for just wanting to have their voices heard. And while some were able to see a glimmer of humor in it all, they maintained that it was nonetheless a "rude and desperate move."
But authorities stand by their decision. Metro Manila police spokeswoman and chief inspector Kimberly Gonzalez explained that their decision to use the playlist was based on Filipinos' love of music: "Filipinos in general love music and it has a calming effect for everyone. This goes well with our maximum tolerance policy during protests." Gonzalez also said how using music at protests is not as unusual as it may seem and presented a veiled apology, claiming "We understand the seriousness of the issues. We don't mean to insult people."
But what she never acknowledged is the humorous irony in using a song like "Roar" to silence protesters. The irony, however, is not lost on us.
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