Here are more memorable moments in the mass movement which should serve to inspire us to do greater deeds in this the Year of the Rat, 2008.
1. The arrest and detention of Prof. Jose Ma. Sison and the ransacking of the houses and offices of activists in Utrecht, The Netherlands. This incident gave rise to a flurry of protest actions here and abroad. One protest in the Dutch embassy in Makati was violently dispersed. We came back a few days later, a bigger rally, armed with a permit from City Hall, and staged the protest in right in front of the Dutch embassy. Joma was later released since the cases filed against him were really weak and unsupported by evidence.
2. Thousands of students walk out of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines to protest a new tuition increase. Though not widely covered by media, this one should be memorable enough for many student activists. The planned tuition hike was stopped.
3. The October 30 Halloween protest at Timog Circle. We haven’t done a lot of these costumed protests recently, but this one may have well been the most colorful prop-action for the year since everyone wore costumes. Very creative ones too. Another broad effort calling for GMA to be scared out of Malacañang. One protester had an axe buried at his back, a reference to extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
4. Langis-tik Man. In one protest against the oil price increases, the mascot Langis-tik Man showed up, complete with green-checkered costume and elongated arms. Photographers are now asking if there will be a “Kamandag” version of this mascot.
5. Any protest that used paper bags and play money – The protest symbol towards the end of 2007 was the paper bag, an obvious reference to the bags used to pay off congressmen and governors in Malacañang at the height of the ZTE broadband scandal and efforts to impeach Mrs. Arroyo.
6. Baywalk protest action – Attended by a broad array of anti-Arroyo forces, the Interfaith Assembly at the Baywalk in Manila on December 14 was the first of its kind to be held in that part of the city. A beautiful sunset was the backdrop of action which was attended by religious leaders and various citizens groups.