Violent demonstrations on Thursday and Friday (23 and 24 September) have marred celebrations in Manila marking the fifth anniversary of martial law being imposed in the Philippines by President Marcos.
Violent demonstrations on Thursday and Friday (23 and 24 September) have marred celebrations in Manila marking the fifth anniversary of martial law being imposed in the Philippines by President Marcos. Steel helmeted police clashed with demonstrators protesting in the streets of the capital against the martial law restrictions, and a number of people were injured. Police arrested 17 people and seized documents which they said outlined a Communist plot to create widespread disturbances on the anniversary. But on Wednesday, (21 September) five years to the day since President Marcos imposed martial law, no violence was reported.
SYNOPSIS: Instead about 20,000 students and government employees marched in support of President Marcos, carrying banners through the streets of Manila to National Convention Centre.
Later, 50,000 people gathered at the Rizal Park stadium for a celebration rally.
President Marcos announced the formation of a new Youth Movement, to be headed by his daughter Imee, who later led the cheering for her father.
President Marcos, who was accompanied by his wife, has announced that he is embarking on a programme to return the country to normal political life, and he's promised local elections before the end of next year. It's not yet been decided how those elections would be organised.
The President has already made some moves towards normalisation in the Philippines. Last month he allowed the curfew to be lifted in many parts of the country, including Manila. But already there's been concern about this, because of the reported rise in crime. The President's wife, who's the Governor of metropolitan Manila says statistics suggest the crime rate had risen by between 20 and 30 percent since the curfew was lifted. She also said it was more difficult to clean up the streets, which workers had previously done during curfew hours.
President Marcos says he believes that a return to normal can no longer be put off, provided people behave responsibly. But he's warned that any sign of violent dissent would bring down the full panoply of martial law powers again.