The Mendiola massacre, also called Black Thursday by some Filipino journalists, was an incident that took place in Mendiola Street, San Miguel, Manila, Philippines on January 22, 1987, in which state security forces violently dispersed a farmers' march on Malacañang Palace. Thirteen of the peasants were killed and many wounded when government anti-riot forces opened fire on the marchers.
By January 1987, the administration of Corazon C. Aquino had been in power less than a year after the People Power Revolution ousted Ferdinand E. Marcos as President of the Philippines. The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Filipino, "Peasants' Movement of the Philippines"), a militant farmers' group led by Jaime Tadeo, demanded genuine agrarian reform from the Aquino government.
On January 15, 1987, members of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas encamped at the Ministry of Agrarian Reform (now the Department of Agrarian Reform) in Diliman, Quezon City. The group presented their problems and demands, among of which was the distribution of land to the farmers for free. Dialogue between the farmers, represented by Jaime Tadeo, and the government, represented by then Agrarian Reform minister Heherson Alvarez took place on January 20, 1987, with Alvarez promising to bring the matter to the President's attention during the cabinet meeting to be held the next day.
The farmers barricaded the Ministry of Agrarian Reform offices and prevented its employees from going inside the premises the day after. In discussions later that day, Alvarez advised Tadeo, suggesting that a negotiating panel be assembled the following day for further talks.
March on MalacañangEdit
On January 22, 1987, the farmers decided to march to Malacañang Palace in order to air their demands instead of negotiating with Heherson Alvarez. Marching from the Quezon City Memorial Circle, Tadeo's group was joined by members of other militant groups: Kilusang Mayo Uno (May One Movement), Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance), League of Filipino Students and Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod (Unity Congress of the Urban Poor). At 1:00 in the afternoon, the marchers reached Liwasang Bonifacio and held a brief program. At around the same time, anti-riot personnel under the command of Capital Regional Command commander Gen. Ramon Montaño, Task Force Nazareno under the command of Col. Cesar Nazareno and police forces under the command of Western Police District Chief Brig. Gen. Alfredo Lim were deployed around the vicinity of Malacañang.
The first line of civil disturbance control units consisted of policemen from the Western Police District. About ten yards behind the policemen were Integrated National Police Field Force units. The third line, a further ten yards from the second police line, consisted of a Philippine Marine Corps unit, the Marine Civil Disturbance Control Battalion. Positioned behind the Marines were army trucks, water cannons, fire trucks and two Mobile Dispersal Teams equipped with tear gas delivery gear.
The marchers numbered 10,000–15,000 by the time they reached Claro M. Recto Avenue. They clashed with the police, and the police lines were breached. At this point, gunshots were heard and the marchers disengaged from the melee, retreating towards Claro M. Recto Avenue. Sporadic gunfire could be heard amidst the withdrawal. Alfredo Lim, now Mayor of Manila, maintains that the Marines were responsible for the shooting.
Twelve marchers were immediately confirmed dead; later sources would cite thirteen. Thirty-nine had gunshot wounds and 12 sustained minor injuries. On the state security forces' side, three sustained gunshot wounds and 20 suffered minor injuries. President Corazon Aquino convened a special body chaired by former Supreme Court Justice Vicente Abad Santos, the Citizens’ Mendiola Commission, to investigate the incident. The body recommended the prosecution of all commissioned officers of the Western Police District and the Integrated National Police Field Force who were armed at that time.
The government disallowed the conduct of demonstrations at Mendiola, however, in January 2008, Mayor Alfredo Lim, allowed the conduct of rallies at the landmark, as long as these are held on weekends and holidays.
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