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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2007, 12:39 GMT
Manila coup bid ends in surrender
Renegade soldier Brig Gen Danilo Lim, centre, is led out of the hotel by police in Manila on 29 November 2007
Brig Gen Lim, centre, was among those arrested at the hotel

A coup bid by renegade Philippine soldiers has ended after hundreds of government troops stormed a luxury hotel in Manila.

The renegades were arrested by police and led, handcuffed, out of the Peninsula Hotel.

They had barricaded themselves in the building after breaking out of court where they were standing trial over a failed 2003 mutiny.

They were calling for the overthrow of President Gloria Arroyo.

In a website statement, the organisers of the botched coup attempt said the country was facing "a crisis of extreme proportions" and that Mrs Arroyo was a "bogus president".

"We have today withdrawn our support from Mrs Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, in order to end her unconstitutional and illegal occupation of the presidency," one of the leaders, Brig Gen Danilo Lim, wrote.

'Chaos and panic'

A five-hour overnight curfew has been imposed in Manila, starting at 2400 (1600GMT).

Interior minister Ronaldo Puno said it would allow the authorities to conduct "follow-up" security operations.

Army tank outside the Peninsula Hotel in Manila on 29 November 2007

During the hotel assault, about 1,500 government troops had surrounded the building before an armoured personnel carrier smashed through the main entrance.

Tear gas and shots were fired, but there are no reports of casualties.

The BBC's Michael Barker at the scene said the lobby was covered with shattered glass and there were Christmas decorations on the floor.

A leader of the rebels, Sen Antonio Trillanes, said they were ending their action to save the lives of civilians and journalists inside the hotel.

He was arrested along with about two dozen soldiers.

Leonie Anning, a British tourist in Manila, told the BBC News website that she was in a nearby shop when she was evacuated and rushed onto the street.

"There was big chaos and panic," she said.

"There were many armed soldiers... and not knowing what's going on, it was pretty scary," she said.

However, Michael Whiting, the vice-chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Manila, told the BBC News website that his Filipino colleagues seemed "pretty apathetic".

"Most people have grown weary of attempts to overthrow the government," he said.

'World watching'

Robert Reyes, a priest who supported the rebels, said the violence was unnecessary.

COUPS AND COUP ATTEMPTS
Feb 1986
President Ferdinand Marcos steps down following a coup led by government ministers and army officers
Aug 1987
Rebel officers occupy army headquarters, 53 people killed
Dec 1989
6,000 troops stage a week-long mutiny during which the presidential palace is bombed
Jan 2001
Gloria Arroyo comes to power after a popular church-backed revolt against her predecessor, Joseph Estrada
July 2003
Nearly 300 soldiers seize control of a luxury apartment in Manila but surrender without a shot being fired
Feb 2006
Failed plot by rebel soldiers to grab power during weekend reunion of military academy

"We did not really intend any violence - the violence came from the military," he said from the lobby before the rebels surrendered.

"You saw what happened - they had to ram a tank into the lobby of the hotel where there was not a single gunshot was fired. The whole world was watching - may the world have mercy on this government."

The Philippines has a history of insurrection and popular revolt.

Mrs Arroyo, whose popularity has been dented by long-standing corruption allegations, has already survived at least two coup plots and three attempts to impeach her during her time in office.

Sen Trillanes, a navy lieutenant, was elected in May but has remained in military detention while on trial over a 2003 mutiny.

Then renegade troops took over a shopping centre for a day, until they were overpowered by security forces.

Map of Manila


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SEE ALSO
Deja vu in Manila siege crisis
29 Nov 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: The Philippines
25 Oct 07 |  Country profiles
Manila coup bid quashed
29 Nov 07 |  World




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