Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Hundreds have gathered today at the University of the Philippines Diliman’s University Avenue for this year’s Independence Day protest. Bringing balloons, paper hats, and other party paraphernalia to the venue, protesters have called the rally a “Grand Mañanita,” a jab at the controversial birthday feast organized for Metro Manila Police Chief Debold Sinas. This is after the suggestion of several social media users, including Senator Kiko Pangilinan who tweeted that calling the gathering a mañanita would “avoid arrests.”
Celebrities such as Janine Gutierrez and Vance Larena took part in the protest alongside various groups from across Metro Manila. Artist and activist Mae Paner, popularly known as Juana Change, even shaved her head to channel the character of Sinas, holding long-stemmed roses as she arrived at the venue.
Similarly to previous protests earlier this month, rallyists continued to observe social distancing, with organizers placing markers along the avenue and making sure that the program does not go beyond noon, according to a tweet by Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes, Jr. Volunteer doctors and nurses, as well as lawyers, were also deployed.
Here are scenes from the protests.