Protests against the burial of fascist dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) in Manila, were held in Melbourne on November 20 and in Sydney on November 27.
The outrage in the Philippines and around the world is a result of the blatant revision of history by the Marcos family and its supporters, particularly President Rodrigo Duterte, who authorised the burial.
In Melbourne and Sydney, dozens of angry expatriate Filipinos, overseas university students and torture victims gave their solidarity to the massive rallies that have erupted in the Philippines against the burial, in particular the “Black Friday” rally held at Rizal Park, Manila, and a separate rally outside Malacanang Palace, where an effigy of Marcos was burned in a mock coffin.
In the Sydney rally, protesters chanted “Marcos not a hero” and “Marcos, Hitler, diktador, tuta”.
Several victims of torture during Marcos’s years of martial law between 1972 and 1981 also shared their experiences: stories of human rights abuses against Marcos’s opponents who were mostly student activists at the time. These included stories of round-ups by the police and military who acted with impunity under martial law to jail, torture and execute dissidents without trial.
Official statistics record that during martial law 70,000 people were imprisoned, 35,000 tortured, 3257 killed and US$10 billion stolen, with the real figures suspected to be much higher.
Organiser of the Sydney rally Mariza Sollano said: “The imperative of the moment is to build the broadest coalition possible. The Marcoses and President Rodrigo Duterte are clearly colluding, thick as thieves, to revise history and rehabilitate dictatorship.”
At the rally, Sollano spoke of the ongoing human rights violations being perpetrated under Duterte’s presidency and the growing number of undocumented extra-judicial killings happening each week.
Sollano also encouraged everyone to join the December 10 Human Rights Day march to be held in Sydney, to highlight the current human rights violations in the Philippines and to build a broad movement against it.