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Filipino military urges calm after former coup plotters stage protest
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14:02, November 29, 2007

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The Philippine military has appealed to the public to remain calm after a group of former coup plotters began staging an armed confrontation with the government Thursday by calling for the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The military is solid behind President Arroyo in the face of the withdrawal of support made by some military men accused of coups when they started a protest in a the financial hub of Makati City, Metro Manila, said a military spokesman.

"We are calling on the people to be calm and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, particularly the National Capital Region Command under general (Fernando) Mesa with the Philippine Marines are addressing the situation right now," said military spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro.

The protesters were led by former Scout Ranger chief Brig. Gen.Danilo Lim and former Navy lieutenant Antonio Trillanes IV, who marched from the Makati City regional trial court to the Makati Peninsula hotel to call for the resignation of Arroyo over alleged corruption and misrule.

Lim was linked to last year's attempt to grab power while the group of Trillanes was involved in the short-lived Oakood mutiny in July 2003.

The spokesman also said the military has not monitored any unauthorized movement of troops.

When asked if the incident is another attempt to grab power, Bacarro said: "We can interpret it as like that."

Trillanes and Lim marched out of a Makati courtroom, where they had a hearing, and joined civilians and a dozen fully armed and uniformed soldiers carrying M-16 and M-14 assault rifles, according to footage broadcast by local television.

The soldiers, some of whom were carrying Magdalo flags of the 2003 mutiny soldiers, marched along Makati Avenue and entered the Manila Peninsula Hotel, a five-star hotel frequented by the country's upper class and foreigners.

"This is a withdrawal of support (from Arroyo). We are joining our people in calling for the removal of the President," Lim announced over radio and television.

He accused Arroyo of "violating the Constitution with impunity by plundering the treasury".

Philippine National Police placed its units on full alert after the protest started.

"We are now on red alert. Our policemen have been dispatched (to Makati City)," said Director General Avelino Razon Jr., Philippine National Police chief.

Source: Xinhua

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