MANILA – Protesters wearing black marched under light rains on Friday to mount what is hoped to be the largest expression of outrage so far against the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) last week.
Organizers expect some 20,000 people to converge at the Quirino Grandstand before sundown, with pocket rallies held at the University Belt, Liwasang Bonifacio and UP Manila.
Marcos was interred in a secret ceremony last week, three decades after he was ousted by a military-backed popular revolt due to alleged massive corruption and human rights abuses. The burial had the blessings of President Rodrigo Duterte.
"This is going to be much bigger than what we've seen in recent months because institutions that do not traditionally send protesters are joining," Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (CARMMA) convenor Bonifacio Ilagan told ABS-CBN News.
Students skipped afternoon classes to join veterans of the anti-Marcos movement in the march to Luneta. Organizers said former senators Rene Saguisag and Lorenzo Tanada will be present along with celebrity guests who will entertain the crowd.
Anti-Marcos groups hope the “Black Friday” protest will signal more demonstrations against the burial. Another protest by a different group is being planned next week.
"Our protests are aimed at the reversal of the burial and for President Rodrigo Duterte to once and for all abandon his alliance with the Marcoses," Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Secretary General Renato Reyes said.
"The people hold Duterte accountable for the burial. The people likewise demand an end to a system of political accommodation and compromise among the elite," he added.
Police said maximum tolerance would be observed.
"Pabayaan namin sila. Sa kanila na yang mga plaza, mga kalsada kung gusto nila. Hindi na namin sila pakialaman," Philippine National Police Chief, Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, said Thursday.