Groups march to CCP Complex for Palestine despite hard rain, confined roads, strong police presence

Lasallians joined other sectors to wave the Palestinian flag and call for peace in the war-torn area.

On November 25, politicians, civic groups, and concerned citizens assembled at Luneta Park and marched in solidarity to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Complex to call for peace, raise concerns over the ceasefire, and denounce human rights violations in the Gaza Strip. 

Calm beginning

The demonstration for Lasallian activists began in the Manila Campus, where the La Salle Students for Human Rights and Democracy led information dissemination campaigns and the tying of ribbons in Palestinian flag colors on the gate and fences fronting St. La Salle Hall before they joined other sectors in Luneta.

Individuals gathered at the Kilometer Zero monument to stage a program. It saw speeches from various political leaders and activists calling out the atrocities committed by Israel and the United States and declaring support for the liberation of Palestine. Police were stationed along the intersection of Roxas Blvd. connecting to South Road. 

In a speech, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) President Renato Reyes Jr. expressed solidarity with Palestinians and commended their efforts in freeing 150 Palestinian prisoners. This included 117 children and 33 women who were previously detained by the Israeli Military in violation of its military orders. 

“Binabati natin ang mamamayan ng Gaza na matagumpay sila… Lalaya na [ang] 150 Palestinian prisonersThat is the product of the resistance and the people of Gaza. Alam nila na makatarungan ang kanilang pinaglalaban at tayong mga Pilipino, we will stand with Palestine until they are free, until the whole world is free,Reyes said

(We congratulate the citizens of Gaza for their success… About 150 Palestinian prisoners will be freed… That is the product of the resistance and the people of Gaza. They know that what they are fighting for is just, and we, Filipinos, will stand with Palestine until they are free, until the whole world is free.)

In an interview with The LaSallian, Lanao Del Sur First District Representative Zia Alonto Adiong highlighted that the conflict did not revolve around cultural concepts but was rather a power struggle between countries.  

“This has never been about religion. It’s about one group that happens to be stronger than the other taking…advantage [of their] strength [in] suppressing the rights [and] stealing away lands…of…Palestinians,” Adiong said. 

When asked about the situation of overseas Filipino workers in the conflict, Adiong recognized the government’s repatriation efforts, stating, “They’ve done quite well in securing our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers)—130 plus Philippine residents in Gaza, together with their spouses. They were able to transport them back here in the Philippines. So, it’s something that we also need to commend.” 

Following the program, the march at Roxas Blvd. proceeded smoothly until police clad in riot gear at the US Embassy halted the protestors from marching further.

According to Bayan Chairman Teodoro Casiño, the Manila Police District allowed them to continue the protest, provided they would not go through Roxas Blvd. but instead pass through Del Pilar St. 

Weathering the storm

Heavy rainfall poured down the protestors while en route to the CCP Complex, sparking the group to intensify and raise their placards further.

Upon passing in front of the Philippine Navy Headquarters, the group was once again blocked by the police in riot gear. The protestors forced their way through the blockade, initiating a chase between the two sides. Police forces stopped chasing the protestors upon their arrival in front of the CCP Complex, where a concluding program was held.

The rally was capped off with attendees lighting their cellphones as they shouted out various chants such as “Free, free Palestine!” Some members also stayed in the area after the program to offer their prayers before ultimately vacating the venue.

At least four individuals were injured during the entire protest, with a protester reportedly being hit by a policeman’s shield in the earlier chase.

Strengthened calls

Former Bayan Muna partylist Representative Carlos Zarate in an interview pointed out that the Philippines and Palestine share the same history of foreign powers taking over their land and controlling their people, underscoring the relevance of Palestine’s situation to the country.

Hanggang ngayon, ang ating bansa ay semi-feudal [at] semi-colonial pa rin [ang] sistema. Gayundin ang nangyayari sa Palestine, under occupation siya ng…estado ng Israel…na sinusuportahan ng mga imperyalistang bansa, hindi lang dahil gusto nila ukuhin ang Palestine, kun’di isulong [din] ang kanilang political and economic interests,” Zarate said.

(Until now, our country still has a semi-feudal and semi-colonial system. Similarly, what is happening in Palestine is under the occupation of the state of Israel supported by imperialist countries, not only because they want to occupy Palestine but also to advance their political and economic interests.)

Reyes, on the Philippines’ role in the conflict, called out the government’s timid approach to the situation.

“The government has no spine when it comes to the issue of standing for the Palestinian people. It does not want to call for a ceasefire, it does not want to protect the Filipinos who are still in Gaza, so it is very disappointing and quite expected because Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is subservient to the United States,” Reyes asserted.

Since October 7, at least 26,900 Palestinians have been killed, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. Additionally, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that 1.8 million individuals in the Gaza Strip have been internally displaced. 

Further, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs, four Filipinos have lost their lives, while Philippine Ambassador to Jordan Wilfredo C. Santos stated that 18 others are still in the Gaza Strip.

With reports from Nash Laroya

Lance Ariel Bustos

By Lance Ariel Bustos

Carmen Maitem

By Carmen Maitem

Clyde Nicolas

By Clyde Nicolas

Leave a Reply