Philippines: from GLW archives. 5

Alan Bradley alanb at SPAMelf.brisnet.org.au
Sat Jan 20 02:38:15 MST 2001




>From issue 422 of Green Left Weekly (http://www.greenleft.org.au)

PHILIPPINES: Rallies demand end to Estrada government

MANILA — More than 13,000 people attended two mass rallies here on
September 21 to commemorate the declaration of martial law by former
Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1972. The main demand was for an
end to the government of President Joseph Estrada, or “Erap” as he is
popularly known.

Left-wing political groups and trade union groups warn that the country is
sliding further into economic chaos, militarisation and corruption.

In the more militant of the rallies, organised by the September 21
Committee, 3000 students, workers and others marched from the University of
the Far East to Mendiola, near the Malacanang presidential palace, where
the road was blocked by thousands of riot police, SWAT squad members and
military.

The demand for left unity was strongly expressed during the rally. Speakers
called for the struggle against the Estrada regime to be stepped up, and
condemned a secret police raid on the offices of the Movement for National
Democracy (KPD) and the arrest of its 12 members on trumped up charges in
the days before the rally.

In a moving moment at the end of the rally, members of the various
political blocs joined their flags, linked arms and sang the
“Internationale”. <Picture: Picture>

One of the main sponsoring organisations of the rally, the Socialist Party
of Labour (SPP), issued a statement calling “on the people to intensify the
mass struggle to oust the Erap regime and build the government of the poor.
As the economic and political crisis continues to take its toll on the
working class and further undermine the legitimacy of the Estrada
government, the regime has now openly opted to unleash its reactionary
violence against the struggling people ...

“The SPP calls on all the progressive organisations to stand united against
these attacks. Only a united left opposition against the regime can provide
a clear class leadership to the growing mass discontent.”

The SPP called for the immediate withdrawal of military forces from
Mindanao and the southern islands of the country, and for an end to the
militarisation of the country.

At the other rally, organised by the Never Again Movement, 10,000 people
marched and rallied at Liwisang Bonifacio under the banners of a coalition
of forces that included the far-left KMU (May 1st Movement) and Bayan,
social democratic parties and the right-wing Lakas-NUCD, the party of
former president Fidel Ramos.

BY JIM McILROY





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