Slideshow: In Manila Protest March, Filipinos Demand an End to Arroyo Regime


MANILA — Various progressive groups held what they called “Martsa Kontra Chacha,” a protest march against charter change, exactly a year before the term of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo expires on June 30, 2010.

Protesters from three assembly points — Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City, wearing red shirts; Taft Avenue, wearing blue; and Intramuros, wearing white shirts — were composed of peasants, urban-poor residents, students, religious leaders and lay workers, professionals, health workers and delegations from progressive groups such as Bayan and Gabriela.

Most of them were carrying whistles and percussions to make noises to show their outrage over charter change, which they see as a move by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to stay longer in power.

Each contingent went around the communities they passed by. The Welcome Rotonda contingents turned left from Espana to P. Noval, passing through the residential and business areas along Bustillos Church, Legarda, Avenida and Sta. Cruz before they converged with other contingents around 5:30 in the afternoon at the Liwasang Bonifacio.

Many people went out of their houses and office buildings to see what was happening outside. Jeepney, bus and even private car drivers were honking their horns at the sight of the protesters marching along Recto Avenue. Bystanders were waiving as the protesters passed in front of them.

There were children dancing in the streets to the beat of the Tribu Sabulo and to the wooden xylophones of the delegates from the Promotion of Church People’s Response.

“We’ve held anti-charter change protests in Makati. Now we are here in Manila, the country’s capital. We want the people here to prepare for the State of the Nation Address because that could be the turning point in the constituent-assembly issue. We should be ready to protest what should definitely be Mrs. Arroyo’s last SONA,” Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr. said.

Visible in the protest action was the big number of youths.

“This is the beginning of the end of the Arroyo regime,” Kabataan Kontra Chacha Alvin Peters said, adding that the large number of youths that participated in the rally showed the unity among young people from different walks of life against Arroyo’s plan to stay in power beyond 2010.

League of Filipino Students spokesman Teri Ridon said that they would be gearing more protests toward the State of the Nation Address on July 27.

“This will be the last June 30 that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be in office. This is only the beginning of the youth’s mammoth rallies until Arroyo steps down and the people will make her pay for her sins,” Ridon said. (

Share This Post