Progressive groups from various sectors marched to Mendiola at 7am on January 16, 2015 when Pope Francis was scheduled to meet President Aquino in Malacañang.
The said groups, led by the People’s Committee to Welcome the Pope, conducted a short program in front of the Mendiola Peace Arc. Afterwards, they trooped towards Ayala Bridge to welcome the Pope, but police forces barred them because of the content of the groups’ placards.
The placards and banners carried messages of welcome for Pope Francis, as well as calls such as “Pope, stand with the poor!”, “Hear the cry of the poor and oppressed!” and “Resume peace talks now!”
Organizers of the march attempted to persuade members of the Philippine National Police to allow them to pass, pointing out the irony that the police is preventing the Pope from seeing the people and their calls for social justice and land reform, which they said are consistent with the messages of the Pope.