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The BBC's Matt Frei
"Anger soon turned to violence"
 real 56k

The BBC's Damian Grammaticas in Manila
"There are hundreds of soldiers lining the streets to the palace"
 real 56k

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

Senator Raul Roco, education secretary
"This time the government stands firm"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 1 May, 2001, 16:16 GMT 17:16 UK
Philippines acts to crush 'plot'
Palace standoff
Police beat back protesters trying to storm the palace
The authorities in the Philippines have ordered the arrest of three senior politicians, after thousands of protesters tried to storm the presidential palace in the capital, Manila.


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

President Arroyo
The three senators, Juan Ponce Enrile, Miriam Defensor Santiagio and Gregorio Honasan, have been linked to an alleged plot to topple President Gloria Arroyo.

At least two police officers and a protester died during the bloody pre-dawn clashes on Manila's steets between security forces and thousands of supporters of ousted president Joseph Estrada.

Mr Estrada has urged his followers to refrain from violence, but condemned his successor and said "the struggle has just begun".

Arrest orders have also been issued for several other opposition figures known to be close to Mr Estrada, whose arrest on corruption charges last week has sparked massive protests.

Those on the arrest list included former national police chief Panfilo Lacson, former ambassador to the United States Ernesto Maceda, and two active-duty generals, say police.

Mr Enrile, a former defence minister who has been identified with right-wing military factions, has denied the accusation.

He has been barred from leaving the country and has been taken to the national police camp for questioning.

In Manila, calm had been restored, following the use of teargas and water cannon to disperse crowds.

Rebellion

Mrs Arroyo has 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.

Mrs Arroyo 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."

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

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
Philippines president scents coup
01 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
Picture gallery: Manila demonstrations
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
01 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
Arroyo on defensive
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