July 7, 2007. Yesterday, hundreds of youths from different universities, colleges and high schools, including out-of-school youths from across Metro Manila, marched together to Mendiola to protest against an education system that has become increasingly inaccessible, and to protest against the impending implementation of an “Anti-Terrorism” law.
We were, however, as usual, stopped on our way to Mendiola when we reached Morayta, just in front of the gate of Far Eastern University. When we tried to push forward, the police violently pushed us back.
Eventually, the dust cleared and we went on with a program right on Morayta. While everything was at peace and negotiations were going on, the police, amusingly, engaged some of us in casual conversations, and vice-versa. Some were even sharing their drinks. It was an amusing sight. It felt as if they were simply role-playing, and it was their salaried duty to play the role of protecting a repressive status quo.
As we always do, after a few hours, we pulled out from Morayta and tried to circumvent the police barricade by taking the narrow streets of Sampaloc in a mad dash to Legarda. Unlike previous years, we were able to push on to as near as a few feet from Chino Roces bridge. A few steps from Mendiola. A few blocks from the country’s seat of power and corruption.
Just behind the police barricade on Legarda were a few armed policemen. What a clear breach of rules and protocol during rallies. Law enforcers are restricted from carrying firearms within a certain distance from the bulk of people. There were also firetrucks, though there was obviously no breakout of fire within the area.
There was this inspiring boy who spoke to everyone at the rally a little before we self-dispersed. He was so young and yet he spoke so eloquently and passionately about our issues as young Filipinos.
More pictures can be found at my Multiply site.