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Philippines officers linked to 2003 coup take over hotel, demand Arroyo resignation

[JURIST] About a dozen officers on trial in the Philippines [JURIST news archive] in connection with a failed 2003 mutiny [BBC report] Thursday walked out of court, took control of a Manila hotel, and demanded the resignation of Philippine President Gloria Arroyo [official website; BBC profile]. Philippine military and police forces subsequently regained control of the hotel after a lengthy confrontation. The military officers and several civilian sympathizers, including former Vice President Teofisto Guingona [official profile], were taken into custody. Reports indicate that courtroom security forces did not prevent the officers from leaving the court, and in fact escorted them to the hotel. After the siege, Arroyo announced a 12 to 5 am curfew in the capital city, but said she has no doubts about the loyalty of the army as a whole.

In April, a Philippine military tribunal sentenced 54 military officers [JURIST report] to seven years and six months in prison for their involvement in the 2003 coup attempt. Charges were later dismissed [JURIST report] in October against four additional military officers connected to the same mutiny. AFP has more. AP has additional coverage.

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