BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Tuesday, 1 May, 2001, 03:55 GMT 04:55 UK
Analysis: 'People power' politics
Protesters scale fence at presidential palace
The protesters want their demands taken seriously
By Simon Ingram in the Philippines

The eruption of violence in Manila, while widely predicted, signals President Arroyo's failure to defuse the most severe crisis of her short administration.

The last outburst of so-called "people power", which brought Mrs Arroyo to power in January, was overwhelmingly peaceful.

The early phases of the current protests also steered clear of trouble.

Gloria Arroyo, President of the Philippines
Mrs Arroyo: Pledged to crush opponents
But there have been persistent indications that ambitious politicians and others close to former president Estrada have been manipulating the demonstrations by the ousted leader's supporters, to their own ends, perhaps with the eventual aim of toppling the government.

There may well be truth in such claims - not least because the crisis comes in the final stages of campaigning for important national and local elections on 14 May.

For this reason several commentators have said the arrest of Mr Estrada last week was ill timed.

But equally there's no disputing the frustration of the tens, sometimes hundreds, of thousands of people who have spent the past six days camped out at the celebrated Edsa shrine.

Masses outcast

Overwhelmingly these crowds represent the impoverished masses of the Philippine population.

They are a section of society long excluded from the elite world of Philippine politics and treated with disdain or worse by many of its practitioners.

The protesters felt their anger over Mr Estrada's treatment following his arrest, and their demands for his reinstatement, were not taken seriously.

Mrs Arroyo scarcely helped the situation on Monday when she told a televised news conference that she was looking forward to crushing the forces plotting her downfall.

She is being given the chance to fulfill that boast sooner than she perhaps expected.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

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?
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories