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The BBC's Damian Grammaticas in Manila
"Thousands of supporters of the former president marched on the palace"
 real 56k

President Arroyo's spokesman Rigberto Tiglao
"Orders for arrest have been issued"
 real 56k

Senator Miriam Santiago
"Gloria Arroyo has never been elected president of this country"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 1 May, 2001, 06:58 GMT 07:58 UK
Philippines president scents coup
Palace standoff
Police beat back protesters trying to storm the palace
Philippines President Gloria Arroyo has accused opponents of trying to topple her government following violent scenes overnight outside the presidential palace in Manila.

At least two police officers and a protester died when thousands of supporters of deposed president Joseph Estrada tried to storm the building but were beaten back by security forces.

I thank all the troops who have been protecting me and the republic

President Arroyo
Calm has now been restored. Police and soldiers fired volleys of shots into the air, as well as teargas and water cannon to disperse the crowds, who threw rocks at them.

The demonstrators are demanding the resignation of Mrs Arroyo and the release of Mr Estrada, who was arrested last week on corruption charges.

He has called for calm, but has defended the actions of his supporters, saying they were defending the country's constitution.


Mrs Arroyo, however, said unnamed political opponents were using the protests to try to unseat her.

Gloria Arroyo, President of the Philippines
Mrs Arroyo warned demonstrators against violence
"The vandalism, robbery and injury and deaths are the work of these politicians," she told the nation in a televised address shortly after riot police beat back crowds trying to scale the palace gates.

"They planned to bring down the legitimate government so they could set up their own junta."

Mrs Arroyo announced a state of rebellion, which allows her to call in the armed forces.

The army says it will do what it takes to defend her government.

It was the second time in as many nights that Mrs Arroyo has alleged a coup is in the making.

Philippine immigration officials barred at least two current generals and two senators linked to Mr Estrada from leaving the country following the rioting.

As clashes raged outside the Malacanang Palace, Mr Estrada was flown from a military hospital to a maximum security detention centre outside the capital.

He is in custody facing a charge of economic plunder which carries a possible death sentence.

Tense night

The BBC's Damian Grammaticas in Manila said up to 20,000 protesters clogged the streets leading to the palace at the height of the standoff.

Don't shoot the people, they are unarmed

Joseph Estrada
They refused to disperse despite warning shots, teargas and the deployment of marksmen and military helicopters.

At one point marchers drove a dumper truck through lines of riot police, forcing them to drop their plastic shields and scatter.

Several thousand protesters were still outside the palace as the president made her address.

The march on the palace began from a Manila religious shrine about 15 km (nine miles) away, where tens of thousands of Mr Estrada's supporters have been holding a protest vigil since his arrest six days ago.

Former president Joseph Estrada
Jailed Estrada was moved into a high security cell
They moved into Manila's financial district on Sunday following calls from one of Mr Estrada's sons to "show the ruling classes that we Filipinos have the right to rule".

Leading the protests, his son Joseph Victor Ejercito told the BBC the march to the presidential palace had not been organised, but the people were "mad" and could not be stopped.

The jailed former leader is now staying at a special police camp in Santa Rosa Laguna province 50 km (31 miles) south of Manila where a special detention centre has been constructed for him.

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See also:

01 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: 'People power' politics
28 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
Estrada supporters hold fast
25 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
Jailed Estrada defiant
25 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
What next for Estrada?
25 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
Estrada speaks to BBC from prison
10 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
Estrada: Movie hero or villain?
01 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
Picture gallery: Manila demonstrations
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