Police van rams protesters outside US embassy in Manila


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A Philippine police van rammed and ran over baton-wielding protesters outside the US embassy in the capital Manila.

Police also used tear gas and truncheons on Wednesday to try to disperse about 1,000 people who had gathered in support of President Rodrigo Duterte's recent comments that he wanted to loosen his nation's alliance with the United States.

Police made at least 23 arrests, said Chief Inspector Arsenio Riparip, one of the officers overseeing the incident, adding demonstrators broke through the line of police securing the embassy's gates.

The van's driver, police officer Franklin Kho, told reporters he was driving the van away from the protesters because he feared they would try to seize it and use it to attack the police.

Photos showed a grey-haired man trapped underneath the stationary van with his leg and hips under one of the back tyres.

The rally came as Duterte visits Beijing to strengthen relations with the world's second-largest economy amid deteriorating ties with former colonial power, the US.

"We had to disperse them. They started it. They were trying to enter the embassy," Riparip told AFP news agency.

"We had to use tear gas. They overpowered our policemen."

A police van reversed quickly back into a crowd of dozens of protesters and then forward, running over at least two people and banging into others, footage broadcast by local television network ABS CBN showed.

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