Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

“They love us everywhere we go, so when in doubt…

Posted by Charles II on November 16, 2011

…send the Marines.” –Tom Lehrer

Today’s State Department briefing:

QUESTION: Do you have any more details about the incident in Manila today with the – involving the Secretary and the convoy, what exactly happened?

MR. TONER: Sure. I mean, I don’t know if everybody’s aware, but at 2:45, 1445 in military time, local time in the Philippines, which was, I believe, around 1:45 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, while en route to the presidential palace for a scheduled meeting in Manila, the Secretary’s motorcade ran into a crowd of approximately 40 to 50 people, protesters. They threw objects at the lead vehicle. I believe it was eggs and paintballs, maybe a few rocks. And the motorcade pulled out of that area and went to its scheduled location – sorry, the next schedule meeting place, which was the presidential palace. I’m sorry -they were en route from the presidential palace onto the next scheduled meeting place. And they pulled out of there and they went on to their next stop, and – without incident. And there were no reports of any injuries.

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QUESTION: And just on the paintball issue, my understanding is that it was a balloon filled with paint.

MR. TONER: It might’ve been balloons filled with – yeah.

QUESTION: Just because paintballs would imply some sort of gun-looking device that was far more concerning.

MR. TONER: No, no. I think it was balloons filled with paint. Okay.

QUESTION: Okay. All right. And just – you said it was only the lead vehicle that was hit. Were there – was the vehicle that the Secretary was in – was that —

MR. TONER: No, I don’t believe – the vehicle in which the Secretary was sitting was not struck.

QUESTION: There were some reports that the protesters were able to make it up to the vehicles themselves, including being able to kick some of them. Were they able to get that close, in your understanding?

MR. TONER: It’s a good question. I think they – maybe to the lead vehicles, but I think that they – again, they were able to get out of there without any incident, and clearly, without any injuries. So that implies that they weren’t in close contact.

QUESTION: And then my last question: Was the assessment that at any time the Secretary was in danger, or —

MR. TONER: No.

QUESTION: — any concern about that?

MR. TONER: No.

QUESTION: What was the reason for this?

MR. TONER: I believe it was to – it was a protest against the visiting forces agreement, which is a longstanding partnership with the Philippines.

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