On Sunday 11th of November, Independence Park in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo was the meeting point for more than 6 thousand protesters [es] who were protesting against the Fiscal Reform and rejecting the assasination of young student Willy Florián at the hands of the police last Thursday 8th November (also dead is teacher Angela Heredia Moquete [es], after being wounded by police during a demonstration). The protesters expressed themselves with a wide range of signs and slogans [es] in front of the Puerta del Conde (Count’s Gate), the site of the first act of independence of the Dominican Republic on 27th February 1844, and where the national flag was raised for the first time. A peaceful environment and respect were the norm during the more than five hours that the event lasted.
Political personalities, opposition legislators, intellectuals and communicators
joined the thousands of young people who, without class distinction, were united by the same interests: to confront a government that is glaringly corrupt and unjust. However, there was tension in the air. The new administration headed by President Danilo Medina, which succeeded the last led by Leonel Fernández Reyna, has received a widespread and steadfast rejection by ample sectors of Dominican society. Experts predict that it is scarcely the beginning of what may culminate in a strong popular revolt if the government remains deaf to the cries of its people.
Dominicans not only refuse to accept the Fiscal Reform [es], but also demand corrupt officials be executed and penalised for their disloyal practices. The indignation has reached the point that even pro-government supporters of the ruling party, the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (Dominican Liberation Party or PLD), have declared themselves against the government's measures.
TV presenter and communicator, Nashla Bogaert, commented on the protest:
@NashlaBogaert[es]:Hoy, el corazón de mi Patria palpitó en el pecho de miles de dominicanos. Somos fuerza. Despertamos y no volveremos a dormir.
Today, the heart of my homeland was beating in the chest of thousands of Dominicans. We are strong. We have woken up and will not go back to sleep.
Meanwhile her colleague in the media, Diana Lora, shared some of the slogans that those present were chanting:
@Diana_Lora[es]: Consignas en el parque: “allá en el Congreso un bulto tapado, son todos los millones que ellos se han robado”
Slogans in the park: over in Congress there is a concealed stash, it’s all the millions they have stolen”
@Diana_Lora[es]: Consignas en el parque: ay mami tengo hambre, mi hijo come impuestos!
Slogans in the park: Oh mummy I’m hungry, my son eats taxes!
@Diana_Lora[es]: Consignas en el parque: llegaron en chancletas y salieron en yipetas!
Slogans in the park: they arrived in flip-flops and left in SUVs!
The civil society organisations, El Centro Bonó (Bonó Center) [es], El Foro Social Alternativo (The Alternative Social Forum), el Frente Amplio de Lucha Popular (FALPO) (The Broad Front of Popular Struggle), the Movimiento Toy Jarto (Toy Jarto Movement), Justicia Fiscal (Fiscal Justice) and dozens of other institutions supported the protest – considered a great achievement for the citizens. Indeed, comparisons are circulating on the Internet (like those below) between the Sunday of Mourning and the demonstrations of 1965 against North American intervention in the Dominican Republic.
However, the protest was not restricted to the Capital, in the heart of the city the province of Santiago de los Caballeros also hosted a homologous mobilization in front of the Heroes of the Restoration Monument, located in the centre of the locality. Absent Dominicans did not remain silent either and met symbolically in front of Dominican embassies in the countries where they currently reside.
** All photos were taken by the author, unless otherwise indicated.