ARROYO SAYS NOT WORRIED
Asked on national television why she had looked worried when she left the palace earlier Tuesday to thank the troops who had guarded her, Arroyo said: "No, I wasn't worried. Its just that I hadn't put on my make-up!"
Overnight, witnesses said police and soldiers had persistently fired warning shots in the air and sent teargas rounds into the crowd -- which at one point was over 40,000 strong.
Reuters photographer Bobby Ranoco said one protester's face "had been blown apart" by a gunshot. Arroyo said two police officers had been killed and nearby shops and homes looted.
Earlier this week, Philippine newspapers speculated that opposition politicians and some military officers were planning a coup to install a civilian-military junta, but there was no sign the crowd in front of the palace was backed by any more serious support.
Nevertheless, Arroyo said more arrests of top officials were expected and coup plotters would be "beaten to a pulp."
Randy David, a political analyst from the University of the Philippines, said he thought the opposition attempt to force Arroyo from office by a "people power" revolt would not work.
David said he saw a division in the movement between genuine Estrada supporters -- who are the underprivileged with accumulated resentment against social injustice -- and opposition political figures taking advantage of them.
The former movie star turned president -- who still retains much popular support among the urban poor -- faces a charge of economic plunder for alleged corruption during his 31-month rule. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to death, or life imprisonment.
Influential Philippines Catholic Cardinal Jaime Sin, speaking at the Edsa shrine earlier Tuesday, called for calm.
"In this mass we continue to pray for peace, we pray for enlightenment and sobriety," Sin said told a mass, attended by thousands of Arroyo supporters.
The instability has already sent financial markets lower.
Yup. People don't like the way you take over a country, just suspend the constitution...
Erap was not perfect, but this crap is serious.