On day of Marcos inauguration, activists converge at historic Plaza Miranda

On day of Marcos inauguration, activists converge at historic Plaza Miranda
Photo shows progressive groups protesting the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of the late ousted dictator, at the Plaza Miranda in Manila on Thursday, June 30.
Philstar.com / Franco Luna

MANILA, Philippines — On the morning of president-elect Ferdinand Marcos' inauguration, activists flooded the Plaza Miranda to protest the incoming presidency of the son of the late ousted leader, whose martial law rule was also protested at the same park in 1972. 

The historic square is widely regarded as the center of Philippine political discourse prior to the imposition of Martial Law in 1972, which Bayan said "holds historic significance in the anti-dictatorship struggle." The plaza is also a designated freedom park — or a designated area where protesters do not need a permit to congregate.

"Marcos Jr.'s victory. was built on communicating with political dynasties from north to south. This is what they call unity," former social welfare undersecretary Malou Turalde of election watchdog Kontra Daya said during the program. 

In an advisory, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary-general Renato Reyes said that progressives had to switch their venue to Plaza Miranda from Liwasang Bonifacio originally at the request of the Philippine National Police after a last-minute meeting between the two parties. 

"They did not run for the Philippines. They ran to clear their name. The next few years we will see a fierce battle against disinformation so we need to oppose it," Reyes also said in Filipino during the program. 

Per a spot report sent to reporters by the Manila Police District, "more or less 500" attended the protest. Present on Thursday morning were groups representing workers, indigenous peoples, teachers, healthcare workers, the transport sector, the church, human rights advocates, among others.

Police Lt. Col. John Guiagui, MPD Station 3 chief told reporters on the sidelines that 200 cops were deployed around the area to ensure peace and order and ensure protesters stay within the bounds of the freedom park.

"Let them do what they want as long as it's orderly and if anyone from outside wants to join them, let it be, let them inside. But we will not allow them to cross the [Quezon] Bridge," he told cops in Filipino as he briefed the contigent. 

Plaza Miranda was later chosen as the venue of the Movement of Concerned Citizens for Civil Liberties rally led by Sen. Jose W. Diokno on Sept. 21, 1972, when some 50,000 gathered to protest the impending martial law declaration of Marcos' father and late dictator.

"The youth are angry today with the proclamation of Marcos being a product of a dirty and unfair elections. We will fight for the service that the people deserve," Kabataan Representative-elect Raoul Manuel also said in Filipino. — Franco Luna




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