Philippine marines end protest
Head of marines relieved of duty after alleged coup plot
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MANILA, Philippines (CNN) -- A tense standoff between Philippine marines and riot police ended three hours after it began when the new commander said the marines had agreed to follow the chain of command.
Sunday's standoff began after the previous commander was relieved of duty and a marine colonel appeared on television to call for protests, urging Filipinos to come out and protect the marines from "aggression."
About 300 marines held a vigil for ousted commander Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda in a Manila marine camp while riot police sealed off the camp, closing its gates.
But just a few hours later, the gates were reopened and the government said everything was in its control.
The country remained under a state of emergency, however, which was established Friday after security forces thwarted what a top general said was a plot to overthrow President Gloria Macagapal Arroyo.
It was not clear why Miranda was removed from his position -- a marine spokesman confirmed that he had been relieved of duty, but would not say why, while other reports indicated he had voluntarily stepped down.
Arroyo announced the state of emergency Friday during a television address in which she called for calm and said the Cabinet was firmly behind her. Arroyo did not mention a coup in her address.
The purported coup was timed to coincide with demonstrations marking the 20th anniversary of the "people power" revolution that toppled former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Under the state of emergency rallies and protests are banned, but that did not stop thousands of people from marching on the central Manila business district.
This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the massive protests that toppled Marcos and brought Corazon Aquino to power, after both candidates claimed victory in a disputed presidential election.
Aquino entered that race after the 1983 assassination of her husband, Benigno, a popular opposition senator who was gunned down at Manila's airport as he returned from exile in the United States.
Noting the growing unrest, Aquino said Friday that Arroyo should make the "supreme sacrifice" and step down.
Coup rumors have swirled in the Philippines in recent weeks amid widespread calls for Arroyo to resign over questions about the legitimacy of her 2004 re-election.
During the vote count, Arroyo was tape-recorded talking to a senior election official, which opposition leaders charge is evidence she manipulated the outcome. The president has denied any wrongdoing, and, in September, the Congress threw out impeachment charges against her.
-- Journalist Maria Ressa contributed to this report
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