Manila gives rebel soldiers deadline to surrender

Philippine police gave around two dozen rebel soldiers until 3pm (7am GMT) on Thursday to halt their attempted mutiny in a luxury hotel in Manila’s financial district.

The soldiers, backed by a bishop, a senator and a former vice-president, took over the hotel and called for the overthrow of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Geary Barias, the capital’s chief of police, declined to say what would happen if the troops do not meet the deadline.

”We have to resolve this crisis in the soonest possible time. By 3pm,” Barias said.

He ordered all guests, staff and media to leave the Peninsula Hotel, around the corner from the stock exchange.

Around half of the troops already face trial for a failed mutiny in 2003 and dramatically walked out of the court on Thursday, followed by some of their guards, and marched to the Peninsula Hotel in the rain.

There has been no violence so far but hundreds of armed soldiers and police have taken up positions around the hotel. Other military units are preparing to reinforce the troops, the military said.

Inside the hotel’s palatial lobby, some troops loyal to the rebel soldiers, guarded doorways and stairs. Some of them were armed. – Reuters

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