Saturday, February 25, 2006
MANILA, Feb. 25 -- The Philippines marked 20 years of freedom from dictator Ferdinand Marcos on Saturday under a state of emergency as President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo confronted an alleged plot by communists, soldiers and politicians to oust her.
Marcos was chased from the country by a "People Power" revolt after a two-decade rule that included nine years of martial law used to jail opponents and close down the free press. On Friday, Arroyo invoked emergency rule after security forces announced that they had quashed a coup attempt.
Early on Saturday, police raided a pro-opposition newspaper, the Daily Tribune, gathering documents, confiscating copies of the paper from the printing press and padlocking the office.
"They just swooped down, went inside," Editor in Chief Ninez Cacho Olivares said on the radio. "This is like martial law."
Police also went to the offices of the Abante tabloid, but Elvira Altez, a member of its board, said the officers left after seeing crews from two TV stations.
The president's allies defended the newspaper raids as a legitimate step against attempts to incite unrest.
On Friday, the military detained the commander of an elite regiment as the leader of troops who were allegedly planning to incite crowds at anti-Arroyo rallies.
Police later broke up two protests of about 5,000 people each, one by using fire hoses and batons.
All rally permits were revoked and events canceled for the 20th anniversary of the People Power revolt, which had looked set to be low-key in the divided nation even before the emergency decree.
Arroyo survived three impeachment bids in September, when her dominant allies in the House of Representatives used a technicality to block complaints of alleged corruption and vote-rigging.