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One Killed, Dozens Hurt in Violence at Manila’s Garbage Dump

November 27, 1995

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Shouting ``this land is ours,″ hundreds of poor people who live in a Manila garbage dump fought today with police clearing the area for a housing project. One person was killed and dozens hurt.

Residents of the Smoky Mountain dump fought police and demolition crews with stones, guns, arrows and firebombs. At least 18 people were arrested and accused of creating a disturbance.

``Heartless animals!″ screamed one woman, clutching a young child as she joined others fleeing to the top of the mountain.

The 52-acre dump, named for the acrid smoke that its smoldering garbage emits, is being cleared so low-cost condominiums can be built for the slum dwellers.

More than 3,000 families have settled in the area in recent decades, earning a living by selling recyclable garbage. More than half the residents have agreed to be resettled temporarily.

Presidential Press Secretary Hector Villanueva said the demolition will continue. He said that only a militant minority was resisting.

Hospital officials identified the dead man as Ricardo Villarente, who was shot in the head. His wife denied he was among those who shot homemade arrows at the demolition team.

Toshihiko Uriu, 38, a freelance cameraman for the Japanese network NHK, was shot and suffered injuries to his internal organs, a doctor at Tondo General Hospital said.

At least nine Smoky Mountain residents were hospitalized with gunshot wounds. Ten other people, including six officers, suffered serious cuts, doctors said. Many protesters suffered minor injuries as they fled a police tear gas attack.

Teresita Villar, 43, watched and wept as crewmen demolished her family’s shanty.

``They’re destroying our home. I can live with that,″ she said. ``What pains me most is that the police, not content with tear gassing us, pulled my hair and tore my clothes.″

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