The actions taken by Bayan Canada organizations in Montreal on July 26, the eve of the Arroyo regime’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) consisted of 3 days; from preparation to implementation.
Bayan Canada held an information session about 1 week before the planned rally to inform members, organizers and solidarity friends about Arroyo’s real intentions with regards to Charter change (Cha-Cha), the calling to convene a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass), and the actual state of the nation in contrast to her traditional annual report to the nation.
Bayan Canada explained to the participants the need to add their voices to the growing opposition in order to frustrate Arroyo’s bid to stay in power.
After the politics of the planned mobilization were clarified and everyone was unified, the organizers of PINAY – the Filipino Women’s organization of Quebec and the Filipino Workers Support Group, along with the solidarity group, the Centre for Philippine Concerns made plans for the form that the demonstration will take and the organizing it would involve.
The organizers mobilized their mass members to help create the props needed for the rally, including a huge 50 foot streamer with slogans both in English and French. Flyers for distribution were also prepared and hundreds of copies were made. A short street theatre play based on the the song Bayan Ko was conceived and practiced. The organizers were also busy finalizing the program for the demonstration and calling on members to ensure a good turn out.
Finally on the day of the rally, the demonstrators first assembled at a busy street intersection in the heart of the Cote-des-Neiges neighbourhood where a high concentration of Filipinos live. Flyers were distributed and slogans were chanted.
The Bayan Ko street theatre was then performed in front of the nearby subway station as passerbys stopped to watch and ask questions.
The last phase of the rally saw the demonstrators marching to McKenzie Park, where an annual Filipino community picnic called, Pista sa Nayon, was being held. Once there Bayan Canada held a silent vigil and distributed flyers calling on the community to support the call for 0 remittance day on July 27, the day of Arroyo’s SONA. Many people approached the demonstrators and even asked to take photos with the street theatre actors.
After a brief march around the park Bayan Canada representatives spoke to the organizers of the community event to see if they can be included into the program and avail of the stage, sound system and a captive audience. The Pista sa Nayon organizers agreed to have Bayan Canada present their street theatre and to give a short message to the hundreds of community members present at the picnic.
For more photos click on the following link: Bayan Canada Flickr site