HUNDREDS of farmers in Davao City held a two-day activity to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the Mendiola massacre and at the same time call for a stop on the killings of peasants.

Farmers gave a tribute Thursday to the 32 farmers killed in the Davao Region and offered songs and solidarity messages. A film showing on the Hacienda Luisita and Mendiola massacres were also shown.

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Thursday's event was scheduled to be held at Rizal Park from 5:30 p.m. until 12 midnight. But an advisory from the organizers said the event was to be transferred to the Aglipay Church on F. Torres Street in case there was heavy downpour that evening.

The vigil was in solidarity with the Lakbayan delegates who are at this time holding camp at the Department of Agrarian Reform in Metro Manila.

Today, a "die in protest" will be conducted along San Pedro Street to be followed by the "march for land and justice" headed by Anakpawis.

The march protest will end at the office of House Speaker Prospero Nograles along Quirino Avenue.

The protesters will be denouncing Nograles for his hand in the passage of Carper Law, for the Charter Change agenda, and for his alleged connivance with Representatives Jun Alover and Jovito Palparan who are on an active campaign against Anakpawis and other progressive party-list groups.

The Mendiola massacre was an incident that took place in Mendiola Street, San Miguel in Manila on January 22, 1987, in which state security forces violently dispersed a farmers' march on Malacañang.

Thousands of farmers marched to Malacañang in order to air their demands.

Marching from the Quezon City Memorial Circle, the farmers were joined by members of other militant groups like the Kilusang Mayo Uno, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, League of Filipino Students and Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod.

At 1 p.m., 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 General Ramon Montaño, Task Force Nazareno under the command of Col. Cesar Nazareno and police forces under the command of then Western Police District chief and now Manila Mayor 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 10 yards behind the policemen were Integrated National Police Field Force units. The third line, a further 10 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 amid the withdrawal. Thirteen of the peasants were killed and many wounded from both sides.

Then 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. (BOT)