Chief Supt. Oscar Albayalde, National Capital Region Police Office director, said the driver of the police van did not intend to run over the protesters near the US Embassy on Wednesday.
"Hindi naman sila sinagasaan," Albayalde said in a statement on the violent dispersal.
A video posted on YouTube showed a police vehicle accelerating forward and in reverse hitting protesters, and even threatening to run over at least one of them.
“The rallyists were trying to flip over the patrol car. In the process, the driver extricated the patrol car and inadvertently hit some unruly protesters who sustained minor injuries," Albayalde said.
Albayalde said 32 police officers were also injured and many of their uniform tainted with paint.
He said the police respected the protesters' freedom of assembly and speech in exercise of democracy but "they cannot tolerate violations of the law and breach in peace and security by people who tend to go beyond it."
“Democracy does not mean that the law of the land can be violated,” Albayalde said.
He said the arrested protesters would be charged with direct assault and illegal assembly. —NB, GMA News