Various militant groups braved the inclement weather and the pandemic as they marched to Mendiola Street in Manila in line with what they called the “Day of Defiance” on Wednesday morning. 

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Rallyists burn an effigy of President Rodrigo Duterte during a protest rally at Mendiola Manila on Wednesday (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Brig. Gen. Rolando Miranda, Manila Police District (MPD) director, said around 200 protesters joined the rally while about 30 police officers were deployed to manage the crowd.

Farmers who joined the protest condemned the plunging of palay prices, the rice tariffication policy, the killing of farmers, and the alleged militarization in rural areas.

Meanwhile, fisherfolk assailed the reported reclamation plans in Manila Bay.

The protesters also slammed the government for its “militarist” response to the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The rallyists called for the junking of the feared Anti-Terrorism Law. 

They also scored the Duterte administration for the increasing number of hungry and jobless Filipinos.

The groups also called for justice for slain peasant leader Randall “Randy” Echanis and detained activist Reina Mae Nasino and her deceased daughter River. 

They called for President Rodrigo Duterte’s resignation as they burned his effigy during the demonstration.

“Our collective frustration and outrage is outpouring. We have a thousand reasons to protest and denounce this administration that is liable for the worsening poverty, hunger, and repression suffered by Filipinos,” said Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) Chairman Danilo Ramos in a statement released on Tuesday. 

“The people are raising valid and indubitable economic and political demands. Expression of dissent and protest is just and necessary,” he added. 

Miranda said the protest was generally peaceful as no arrests were made.

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