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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 February 2006, 08:23 GMT
Arroyo brushes off coup rumours
Philippine anti-riot police push back student protesters as they block a busy street to call for the ouster of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in Manila on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006
Protests are mounting ahead of a key anniversary
Philippines President Gloria Arroyo has brushed off rumours of an imminent coup against her, saying the majority of the armed forces remained loyal.

The country is on maximum alert for a coup plot against Mrs Arroyo ahead of a key anniversary.

The president told a briefing for foreign correspondents that nothing would force her to resign.

She has been under fire for months, accused of attempting to influence a 2004 poll and poor economic management.

Mrs Arroyo appealed to military officers to refrain from engineering a coup.

"These adventurists don't have any justification for what they have been trying to do," she said.

Her comments came as the military recaptured one of the alleged leaders of a failed 2003 coup who escaped last month.

Filipino fugitive first Lieutenant Lawrence San Juan, centre, walks with army escorts as he alights from a Huey helicopter at army headquarters in suburban Manila on Tuesday Feb. 21, 2006.
Coup plotter Lt Lawrence San Juan was rearrested on Tuesday

Another soldier on the run and facing the same charges was rearrested last month.

Two former Philippines presidents have been ousted through army-backed "people power" movements - Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and Joseph Estrada in 2001.

Saturday is the 20th anniversary of the Marcos ouster, and protests are expected to gather steam approaching the anniversary.

The original protests were named after Manila's Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, or EDSA, where the demonstrators gathered.

"The world embraced EDSA 1 in 1986. The world tolerated EDSA 2 in 2001," Mrs Arroyo said on Tuesday. "The world will not forgive an EDSA 3, but instead would condemn the Philippines as a country whose political system is hopelessly unstable, and the Filipinos as among the finest people in the world but who manage to shoot themselves in the foot," she said.

Last year Mrs Arroyo survived an attempt to impeach her over allegations that she tried to influence the 2004 presidential poll.

She is also unpopular for introducing a tax hike in a bid to cut debt.

Although such protests have been frequent, even the largest anti-Arroyo rally has fallen far short of the hundreds of thousands that joined the uprisings that overthrew Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and Joseph Estrada in 2001.

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