Marawi evacuees to protest martial law extension
ILIGAN CITY—Marawi residents who fled the strife-torn city will gather more than 100 evacuees and stage rallies here on Saturday.
Amirah Lidasan, one of the Moro leaders behind Tindeg Ranao (Stand Up Lanao), said the rallies would center on their opposition to the extension of martial law, the need to stop the military airstrikes in Marawi and the immediate return of some 260,000 displaced residents to the besieged city.
The rallies would also tackle the need to implement comprehensive and sustainable rehabilitation efforts for Marawi City, Lidasan said.
The protest actions will be held amid civil society groups’ plans for a much larger activity on July 24, when President Duterte delivers his State of the Nation Address (Sona).
The July 24 event was being planned by the Ndansalan tano sa kalilintad (Let’s go to Dansalan) for peace movement. Dansalan is Marawi’s old name.
Drieza Lininding, one of the conveners of the July 24 event, said the protesters will try to enter Marawi on the day of Duterte’s Sona.
Lininding said dialogues had been held with local officials and the security sector.
Earlier, Lanao del Sur Vice Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. urged the prime movers of the July 24 event not to push through with the plan as it could have ugly repercussions.
Adiong pointed out that the fighting has not waned yet and that civilians entering the city could get hit in the crossfire.
“Even here at the capitol, bullets would regularly stray,” Adiong said, citing at least three incidents in which stray bullets hit civilians, among them Australian journalist Adam Harvey.
“We both agreed that safety is No. 1 on our concerns—we explained to them the consequence if we will not be allowed to pursue the July 24 march. I believe we arrived at a rational understanding. We will Go Home! In Sha Allah!” Lininding wrote on his Facebook account.
He said their insistence was also to show the Maute group that the people of Marawi have had enough.
“If we fail the July 24th Ndansalan Tano sa Kalilintad, then we all lose and let MG-IS won! We cannot fail, we will go home! Inshallah!” Lininding said.
The proposed extension of martial law was also being opposed by Marawi City Bishop Edwin dela Peña. —RICHEL UMEL, JEOFFREY MAITEM AND ALLAN NAWAL
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