IN PHOTOS: Massive anti-tyranny protest in Luneta marks 45th Martial Law anniversary

Despite threats to impose martial law nationwide, suspended government work and classes in public schools, limited rally space in Luneta, and a scheduled nationwide earthquake drill, around 30,000 protesters flooded Kalaw Avenue yesterday afternoon until late into the evening.

Intermittent rains failed to put down the collective rage over the Duterte administration’s bloody drug war, its all-out war in the countryside affecting mostly farmers and indigenous peoples, and martial law extension in Mindanao.

“Sa Malacañang natuloy ang earthquake drill. Nayanig ang Malacañang sa ating protesta,” said former Bayan Muna representative Teddy Casiño.

[“In Malacañang, the earthquake drill pushed through. Malacañang is shaken by our protest.”]

Duterte, Hitler, Diktador, Tuta

Students, professionals, religious people, personalities, artists, farmers, workers, and members of national minorities aired out their indignation over the Duterte government’s fascism through banners, placards, songs, poems, and speeches.

A mother of a slain teenager shared her woe’s about Duterte’s war on drugs. “Napakahirap po na mawalan ng isang anak at asawa. Masyado na pong masakit kasi puro mahihirap po ang kanilang binibiktima,” said the mother who was introduced as Emily.

[“It is difficult to lose a child and a husband. It is very unbearable because only the poor are victimized.”]

Rights groups estimate that the drug war death toll has risen to 13,000 since the start of Duterte’s term.

The 2,000-strong contingent from the 2017 Lakbayan ng mga Moro at mga Pambansang Minorya also expressed condemnation over intensifying military presence in indigenous peoples’ communities, notably in Lumad areas in Mindanao.

Datu Jerome Succor Aba of Sandugo – Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination noted that 33 Moro and Lumad have been killed since the president’s declaration of martial law on May 23.

“Pinulbos niya ang syudad ng mga Maranaw sa Marawi City. Pinapatay niya ang mga Lumad. Isinasara niya ang mga paaralan ng mga Lumad. Ang martial law sa Mindanao ay paglabag sa karapatang pantao, pagbabawal sa mga protesta, iligal na pag-aresto,” he added.

[“He pulverized the City of Maranaws in Marawi City. He is killing the Lumad. He is shutting down Lumad schools. Martial law in Mindanao means violating human rights, banning protests, illegal arrests.”]

Aba also noted the increasing plunder and militarization of indigenous peoples’ ancestral lands to give way to foreign corporations, especially those of the United States.

This year’s Lakbayan ng Moro at mga Pambansang Minorya aimed to expose the fascist character of the Duterte administration.

As part of its culminating protest in Mendiola before the Luneta rally, participants of the Lakbayan burned an 8-foot “Rody’s cube”, showing the many faces of Duterte – the dictators Hitler and Marcos and a tuta to resemble his subservience to US imperialism’s economic and military impositions.

Making history

 “OK lang na absent tayo sa klase para magprotesta. Ang importante ay present tayo sa paglikha ng kasaysayan,” said former University of the Philippines Student Regent Raoul Manuel amidst cheers and applause from students who attended the rally.

[“It’s OK for us to be absent in our classes so we could join the protest. What is important is we are here to make history.”]

Actor Pen Medina delivered a fiery speech before a responsive audience: “Ang mga public servants natin, binabayaran natin. Pero sila ang nasusunod. Tayo tameme lang. Pero ang pamahalaan ay tayo.”

[“We are paying for our public servants. But it’s only them who are listened to. We remain silent. But we are the government.”]

Medina also greeted the pro-Duterte supporters participating in the simultaneous mobilization at Plaza Miranda.

“’Wag po nating magalit sa kanila. Sila po ang pinakakawawang biktima ng mga pangako at panlilinlang ng ating Presidente. Walang tunay na pagbabago. Pinapaikot-ikot tayo, pinag-aaway-away tayo. ‘Wag ninyong awayin ang mga Dutertards at pro-Marcos. Imulat ninyo,” he said.

[Let’s not be mad at them. They are the biggest victims of the President’s promises and lies. There is no real change. We are being made to run around in circles, being made to fight each other. Don’t make enemies out of the Dutertards and the pro-Marco loyalists. Educate them instead.”]

Almost, if not all those who spoke before the crowd called an end to martial law in Mindanao and expressed their active support in not allowing martial law to happen again.

In an act of solidarity, various personalities onstage led the crowd in singing a Filipino version of the Les Miserables’ “Do You Hear The People Sing”. The Schöberg original was translated into Filipino by thespians Vincent de Jesus, Rody Vera, and Joel Saracho.

Di niyo ba naririnig?
Tinig ng bayan na galit
Himig ito ng Pilipinong
Di muli palulupig

Dudurugin ang dilim
Ang araw ay mag-aalab
At mga pusong nagtimpi
Ay magliliyab

Ikaw ba’y makikibaka
At hindi maduduwag
Na gisingin ang mga panatikong bingi’t bulag
Kasinungalingan labanan hanggang mabuwag

Di niyo ba naririnig?
Tinig ng bayan na galit
Himig ito ng Pilipinong
Di muli palulupig

Dudurugin ang dilim
Ang araw ay mag-aalab
At mga pusong nagtimpi
Ay magliliyab

Ikaw ba ay dadaing na lang
Kimi’t magmumukmok
Habang nagpapakasasa
Ang mga trapong bulok
Gisingin ang puso
Galitin hanggang pumutok

Di niyo ba naririnig?
Tinig ng bayan na galit
Himig ito ng Pilipinong
Di muli palulupig

Dudurugin ang dilim
Ang araw ay mag-aalab
At mga pusong nagtimpi
Ay magliliyab!
Magliliyab!

Forty-five years after Marcos declared martial law and amid Duterte’s threats of nationwide martial law declaration, the Filipino people stood up and shouted ‘Never again!’

Photos by Noah Loyola, Jhayle Meer, Anjon Galauran, Hector Calma, Dexter Aserdano, Patricia Chan, and Mel Matthew Doctor

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