More than 500 people arrested during an anti-government march in Manila, in the Philippines, have now been released.
More than 500 people arrested during an anti-government march in Manila, in the Philippines, have now been released. They were allowed to go on the orders of President Ferdinand Marcos, but the leaders of the march are still being held in military custody. The demonstration was a protest against alleged vote-rigging in last week's elections, the first to be held after six years of martial law.
SYNOPSIS: The release from the detention centre was inevitably a slow process, and there was a lot of waiting around. A total of 548 people were let out, but not until a charge sheet had been read accusing them of violating a restriction against illegal assembly.
Among the detainees were several Roman Catholic nuns, who had marched with the rest behind two coffins symbolising the death of democracy. According to the authorities they had insisted on being held despite police instructions to go home.
President Fedinand Marcos claimed an overwhelming victory in the elections before the official figures were known, but results for the capital, Manila, showed the government had taken less than 70 per cent of the votes there, at any rate. This was well down on the 90 per cent support the government had claimed for itself in past referenda.
The announcement of the election results for the new interim national assembly, which will have only limited powers, has been slow. Two days after the close of poll, the commission of elections had formally announced less than five per cent of the total vote. Although the full picture has yet to emerge, President Marcos says his party will win all but 13 of the 165 assembly seats at stake.