Festive but Ominous
It was a big, jolly
rally, and maybe even Malacañang had a laugh. But the writing on the wall
is definitely no laughing matter for the beleaguered President.
PHOTOS BY AUBREY SC
MAKILAN AND DABET CASTAÑEDA
TEXT BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
“That’s what you call a rally!” one of the protesters
would exclaim. He was talking about the size of the crowd that marched
from the Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City to the Welcome Rotonda,
the boundary between Quezon City and Manila, to call for the ouster of
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The crowd was a huge mix of activists from
cause-oriented groups under the umbrella of the Bagong Alyansang
Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance) as well as politicians and
their supporters from the United Opposition.
Crowd estimates vary even among the organizers, but those
who watched the action from the overpasses along Quezon Avenue said the
crowd stretched from the Welcome Rotunda to beyond the Sto. Domingo Church
– or more than a kilometer. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority
(MMDA) had to temporarily reroute the traffic along Quezon Avenue because
the part where the rally was being held had become unpassable.
PHOTOS BY A. MAKILAN
CASTAÑEDA (above, right)
The protesters were supposed to
proceed to Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila, but policemen reportedly deployed
from Central Luzon barred them from getting further than the Rotunda. The
situation was such that even Manila Vice Mayor Danny Lacuna could not get
to his house, which was just a few blocks away.
The policemen from Pampanga, Zambales
and Nueva Ecija may have succeeded in preventing the protesters from
bringing the rally to the intended venue.
PHOTOS BY A. MAKILAN
But they certainly failed to spoil the
ralliers’ day. A protest it was, but it was marked by a mostly festive
atmosphere – punctuated once in a while by angry speeches like that of
Carmen Deunida, urban poor leader and a most fiery speaker, who described
Macapagal-Arroyo as “a thief and a cheat.”
And who would not be in a jovial mood
when you had speakers like Bayan Muna (People First) Rep. Teddy Casiño,
San Juan Mayor JV Ejercito, and others trying to outdo each other in
coming up with Gloria jokes?
A MAKILAN (above right and
interesting designs of the props for the rally – definitely not the usual
placards with only the slogans on them – would add to the over-all festive
atmosphere. There was a virtual showase of CD-shaped placards – in every
color you can imagine – and large drawings of the President saying “Hello”
to “Garci” over the cellphone.
There were the speeches and there were
the placards, but Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) chairman and
Patriots convenor Antonio Tinio would go as far as distributing copies of
the CDs to the policemen patrolling the area.
It was a big, jolly rally, and maybe
even Malacañang had a laugh. But the writing on the wall is no laughing
matter for the beleaguered President. Bulatlat
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© 2004 Bulatlat
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