Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has said he is allowing the so-called Black Friday protest this week of anti-Marcos forces.
He, however, warned them not to resort to violence.
Led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan or Bayan, the protesters are composed of individuals and groups who are against the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) in Taguig City (Metro Manila).
Meanwhile, Senior Supt. Joel Coronel, Manila Police District (MPD) head, said 300 policemen will be deployed to help ensure a peaceful and orderly gathering.
While saying it is the constitutional right of all Filipinos to assemble and express their grievances, Estrada said as the city mayor it is his duty to protect the safety and interests of everyone, whether they are pro- or anti-Marcos or just plain observers.
“We will allow the protest actions provided the rallyists will not resort to violence or destruction of property. Also, they should not cause inconvenience to other people, particularly motorists and commuters,” Estrada added.
The mayor ordered Coronel to exercise maximum tolerance but see to it that there will not be a repeat of the incident at the US Embassy on October 19 where a number of protesters and policemen were hurt during a violent dispersal.
Coronel said the 300 police personnel will come from the Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) Office and they will be deployed early in the afternoon for the 4 p.m. rally at the Quirino Grandstand of Manila’s Rizal Park (Luneta).
“At present, we’re still on full alert, we still have CDM deployment at the Supreme Court, a hundred personnel, until such time this issue of Marcos’ burial is resolved,” he added, referring to pocket rallies being staged by militant groups in the past days.
“And on Friday, depending on the projected strength of the rallyists, we will be deploying a minimum of 200 up to 300 CDM personnel at the Quirino Grandstand, and also traffic policemen,” Coronel said.
“So far, as announced by President Duterte himself, he will allow the protest rallies as long as they will be peaceful and no violent actions or destruction of property will be undertaken by the rallyists… so we will allow them to assemble and express their grievances,” the MPD chief added.