Art of protest: Demonstrators get creative for Duterte’s 3rd Sona
For most people, protests mean angry activists marching down the streets; but for protesters in this year’s State of the Nation Address (Sona), it means art, color, and creative expression.
Colorful effigies, large placards, witty slogans and protest music filled Commonwealth Avenue on Monday to denounce the many socio-economic issues the country faces as President Rodrigo Duterte hold his third Sona.
Dubbed as “DuterTrain,” a train-inspired effigy depicting the controversial tax reform law is the centerpiece of this year’s Sona protest.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and Ugat-Lahi Artist Collective created “DuterteTrain: Sagasa sa Mamamayan” which represents the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Law with a pile of bodies in the background, depicting how killings “have become a daily fixture” under the Duterte administration.
The facade of the train was inspired by Thomas the Tank Engine cartoon character while the wheels were written with the Nazi’s swastika symbol and the peso sign.
The second coach of the effigy illustrates different socio-economic issues such as contractualization, Charter change, landlessness, and the so-called intervention of United States and China.
Haunting performance about the thousands of people killed in Duterte’s anti-illegal drug campaign gripped protesters in Commonwealth Avenue.
Called as “Inang Bayan,” the installation art of artist group Resbak featured a statue of a weeping mother covered in black veil while performers pull its carriage.
The act became haunting as performers read one by one the names of the victims of the anti-illegal drug campaign.
For the first time in recent memory, activists held this year’s Sona protest together despite political and ideological differences.
Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. said that it was not true that Duterte had no achievement, noting that his greatest accomplishment was to unite the people against him.
Rally organizers said about 40,000 people joined this year’s rally, five times more than the police’s 8,000 estimate. /je
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