#NeverForget: Militant groups, government critics gear up for martial law anniversary protests

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 20) — Militant groups and administration critics gear up for numerous protests in Metro Manila on the 46th anniversary of martial law. 

Mayor Joseph Estrada suspended classes in all levels in Manila on Friday as a security measure as the police expect demonstrations in the city to be "massive."


Several activist groups will join forces in the United People's Action, an anti-dictatorship rally, to be held at the Luneta Park at 4 p.m.

It will be lead by organizations such as Kilusang Mayo Uno, Movement Against Tyranny, and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan to protest against tyranny and the government's drug war.

Several student and human rights groups are also set to join.

READ: Duterte: Martial law 'not feasible'

The demonstration will protest the tax reform law or TRAIN, the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program, and the labor contractualization.

Day of Protest: Looking back at history

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte met with security officials and intelligence agencies two days before the September 21 rallies, assuring that the police would treat the protests with  "maximum tolerance." 

"Maximum tolerance po palagi ang nakasaad sa batas at yan naman po ang sinusunod ni Presidente whether or not there is a law," Roque said at a media briefing Thursday.

[Translation: Maximum tolerance is what was always stated in the law, and that's what the President follows, whether or not there is a law.]

The spokesman also shrugged off talk of threats to the administration.

"It's not anything that the State cannot deal with. Dream on to those who want to remove the President," he said.

READ: Duterte bares alleged plot to 'sabotage,' 'assassinate' him

Former President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in the country on September 21, 1972 and ruled for over 20 years amid accusations of  human rights violations, corruption and accumulation of some $10 billion in ill-gotten wealth.

The strongman's daughter, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, recently drew flak for saying that her family would never admit to these charges. Her brother, former Senator Bongbong Marcos, defended his sister.

In 2017, Malacañang issued a proclamation suspend working and classes on September 21 as part of a "National Day of Protest," but did not do it again this year.