Huge crowds rally to back Arroyo

About 120,000 people have held a demonstration in Manila urging Philippine President Gloria Arroyo to stay in office. 

President Arroyo is facing allegations of election rigging and members of her family are accused of taking pay-offs from illegal gambling. 

With her presidency in peril, a large turn-out was crucial to Mrs Arroyo's chances of survival. 

Three days ago 30,000 demonstrators demanded the president's resignation. 

But on Saturday the president's supporters fought back with a rally of their own. 

Tens of thousands of people filled Rizal Park - a stretch of green in the heart of the Philippine capital. 

They waved banners that read "God bless the president and the Philipinnes" and "Let's unite for peace and progress". 

On Saturday government workers and religious groups called for an end to the politicking and demanded the rule of law be maintained. 

People power 

Protests have been powerful tools in Philippine politics. 

People power uprisings ousted two presidents - Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and Joseph Estrada in 2001. 

That level of anger has not yet hit the streets in the protests against Mrs Arroyo over allegations that she manipulated the vote count in last year's presidential election. 

Still, she is fighting for survival as she rebuilds her economic team and her support base after resignations and defections last week. 

Her supporters needed to get out in force on Saturday to show that a large number of Filipinos still want President Arroyo to keep her job.


Bron : BBC News

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