By Mario M. Banzon
THE PHILIPPINE Embassy in Washington DC has urged an estimated 125 Filipinos living in the college town of Charlottesville in the US state of Virginia “to stay indoors and avoid large gatherings of people,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement on Sunday.
The statement follows on the heels of violent clashes last Saturday, Aug. 12, between hundreds of white supremacists or nationalists — as news reports abroad have described the ralliers — and counter-protesters, against whom a car had plowed into that crowd, killing a 31-year-old woman, according to a report by Reuters.
Nineteen others were also reported injured in the clashes. Reuters said the suspect in the attack, identified as James Alex Fields, Jr., a 20-year-old white man from Ohio, has been detained by police.
The DFA statement said the embassy estimates there are around 125 Filipinos in Charlottesville.
The statement also referred to the demonstrators accordingly as “white nationalists” and “counter-protesters.”
“Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano was informed this morning by Embassy Charge d’Affaires Patrick Chuasoto that no Filipino has been reported among the injured or arrested as a result of the violence,” the statement also said, adding:
“According to Secretary Cayetano, police normally notify foreign embassies if there are foreign nationals injured or arrested in such disturbances.”
“So far, the Philippine Embassy has not received reports from the Filipino Community or the Charlottesville police,” Mr. Cayetano said in the statement.
“The Embassy, at the same time, urged Filipinos in Charlottesville, which is home to the University of Virginia, and neighboring areas to stay indoors and avoid large gatherings of people,” the statement said, adding that the Embassy is “closely monitoring the situation in Charlottesville.”