At re­volt site, Filipinos protest Mar­cos burial

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Thou­sands of Filipino protesters re­turned yes­ter­day to the site of a 1986 re­volt that ousted dic­ta­tor Fer­di­nand Mar­cos, this time to con­demn his burial at a he­roes’ ceme­tery. Po­lice said at least 3,000 peo­ple gath­ered at the “Peo­ple Power” mon­u­ment along the main EDSA high­way in metropoli­tan Manila, chant­ing “Dig him up.” Protesters held up pro-democ­racy plac­ards, in­clud­ing one that read, “Keep calm and democ­racy will die.”

Mil­lions gath­ered three decades ago at the site just out­side the main mil­i­tary and po­lice camps in a largely peace­ful up­ris­ing to oust Mar­cos, end­ing a pres­i­dency marked by mas­sive cor­rup­tion and hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions. Yes­ter­day’s protest was the lat­est in a grow­ing po­lit­i­cal storm fol­low­ing the Nov. 18 burial, which was al­lowed by Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte and up­held by the Supreme Court amid protests by anti-Mar­cos groups.

The rally speak­ers in­cluded Maria Ser­ena Dio­kno, who re­signed Tues­day as head of the gov­ern­ment’s his­tor­i­cal com­mis­sion to protest the burial. “We should never for­get our his­tory,” Dio­kno said. “We won’t al­low even a part of the dic­ta­tor­ship to re­turn.” A few thou­sand ac­tivists gath­ered sep­a­rately last week in a “Black Fri­day” protest at Manila’s sea­side Rizal Park, where they car­ried Mar­cos’ ef­figy in a mock cof­fin.

Duterte, whose father served in Mar­cos’s Cab­i­net, al­lowed the burial on grounds that there was no law bar­ring his in­ter­ment at the He­roes’ Ceme­tery, where pres­i­dents, soldiers, states­men and na­tional artists are buried. It was a po­lit­i­cal risk in a coun­try where democ­racy ad­vo­cates still cel­e­brate Mar­cos’s ouster each year. Duterte’s de­ci­sion was up­held ear­lier this month by the Supreme Court. Mar­cos op­po­nents had 15 days to ap­peal the de­ci­sion, but Mar­cos’s fam­ily, backed by Duterte’s de­fense and mil­i­tary of­fi­cials, buried him in a se­crecy-shrouded cer­e­mony with mil­i­tary hon­ors at the ceme­tery. The stealthy burial en­raged democ­racy ad­vo­cates and sparked protests in Manila and other cities, in­clud­ing in south­ern Davao city, the pres­i­dent’s home­town. —AP

MANILA: Anti-Mar­cos ac­tivists shout slo­gans dur­ing a protest at the Peo­ple Power mon­u­ment against the burial of the late dic­ta­tor Fer­di­nand Mar­cos at the He­roes’ Ceme­tery. —AFP

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