The Rodrigo Duterte government received the biggest public condemnation yet of widespread human rights violations in the country as tens of thousands across the Philippines and abroad took to the streets Thursday to protest extrajudicial killings and tyranny.
At least 30,000 protesters braved a downpour midway through the Rizal Park protest in Manila as speakers and artists took turns in condemning Duterte’s drug war and “undemocratic government.”
Earlier, at least 20,000 activists joined 3,000 members of various national minority groups in a protest action in Mendiola that ended the three-week Lakbayan ng Moro at Pambansang Minorya 2017.
They burned another Duterte effigy dubbed Rody’s Cube showing the various faces of Duterte as a US puppet, Hitler and Marcos before marching to Rizal Park for the main event.
In her speech before the Rizal Park crowd, Movement Against Tyranny convenor Mo. Mary John Mananzan, OSB said she is heartened by the many young people who attended.
Former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares likened Duterte’s style of governance to the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos who he said was quick to send opposition to jail.
“The Filipino people should never allow martial law to be imposed again on the entire country,” Colmenares said.
The Rizal Park crowd occupied Roxas Boulevard from Padre Burgos Drive to TM Kalaw Avenue.
In Bicol, 13,000 protesters held simultaneous rallies in Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, Albay and Sorsogon, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-Bicol reported.
Thousands also held protest actions in cities across the country, including Baguio, Vigan, Tacloban, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Cebu, Butuan, Tandag, Davao and others.
In Hong Kong, members of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan held a protest rally in front of the Philippine Consulate in the city.
“We (migrant workers) did our part in resisting the old tyrant. We shall do our part in resisting the rising tyranny of the Duterte government. We say no to Duter-tyranny!” Bayan-Hong Kong chairperson Eman Villanueva said in a statement.
A picket protest was also held in The Netherlands as Migrante-Europe members read their statement of condemnation before officials of the Philippine Embassy at The Hague.
In Tago, Surigao del Sur, 36th Infantry Battallion-Philippine Army elements held about 400 Tandag rally participants until rescued by United Church of Christ in the Philippines Bishop Modesto Villasanta.
Another Philippine Army unit in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur tried preventing more protesters from proceeding to Tandag while Philippine National Police personnel reportedly harassed protesters in Iligan City.
Meanwhile, the pro-Duterte rally at Plaza Miranda ended early at about six o’clock in the evening.
The Quiapo rally was attended by participants bussed in from Tondo, San Jose del Monte, and Caloocan, among others.
The controversial Lions Club feeding activity on Rizal Park’s Burnham Green appeared to have not happened, however.
Kodao observed no activity near the stage in front of the Quirino Grandstand despite the National Park Development Committee’s decision that the Lions Club needed the space more than the rally. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)