Philippine troops and police SWAT teams stormed a five-star hotel occupied by dissident army officers Thursday, arresting a senator, a former vice president, a Catholic bishop and several journalists.
A seven-hour standoff began when about 30 officers and soldiers on trial for attempting coups in 2003 and 2006 walked out of the courtroom and commandeered the Peninsula Manila Hotel nearby, demanding the removal of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and calling for an uprising against the government.
About an hour after a deadline for the men to surrender elapsed, the police fired tear gas into the hotel lobby, then rammed an armored personnel carrier through the front entrance, transforming one of the country's most opulent hotels into a war zone. Shots were fired, though it remained unclear by whom.
At least two people were wounded, the police said. Most of the hotel guests and staff had been evacuated.
Antonio Trillanes 4th, the leader of dissident officers and the soldiers supporting them, said they had ended the standoff for fear that the violence would escalate and put the lives of civilians in danger...This time, however, few supporters appeared at the Peninsula Manila, despite the officers' attempts to foment a popular uprising through text messages and media releases.
Some members of the political opposition and the left, including Guingona, and a couple of Catholic bishops, rushed to the hotel to give their support to Trillanes and his companions, saying that this could be another "People Power" uprising similar to those in 1986 and 2001.
Brigadier General Danilo Lim, who is accused of leading a failed coup attempt in 2006, defended the takeover of the hotel, citing Arroyo's "theft" of the presidency in the 2004 elections and the failure of impeachment proceedings in the legislature.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Possibly. These things are usually incremental, no matter how much ex post facto accounts focus on the more dramatic elements.