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Riot Police Chase Off Thousands of Marcos Loyalists

May 4, 1986

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Riot troops and firemen chased about 3,000 supporters of deposed President Ferdinand E. Marcos across Manila’s busiest park on Sunday and then blasted them with a water cannon to get them off a main street.

Meanwhile, Vice President Salvador H. Laurel said he told President Reagan the Philippines believes Marcos might try to destabilize the new Manila government if he were to leave his exile in Hawaii for another country. Laurel said Reagan ″understood our position.″

At least two people were injured and five others arrested when riot police dispersed Marcos supporters trying to stage a rally at Manila’s downtown Rizal Park and on Roxas Boulevard to demand the return of their ousted leader.

At nightfall, several hundred loyalists regrouped and marched down the boulevard behind a pushcart which held the flag-draped body of an unidentified man they claimed was their companion.

The marchers scattered at the sight of riot troops, leaving the cart and the corpse behind. Police took the body to a morgue and a coroner said the man had died of strangulation.

Investigator Reynaldo Lugtu said he was still trying to determine who killed the man, but that there was no evidence to suggest the death was connected with the police action.

Manila’s new police chief, Brig. Gen. Alfredo Lim, ordered the attack on the Marcos loyalists after they gathered for a prayer rally at the park where they had held demonstrations for three previous Sundays.

Lim took command of the Manila police on Friday after President Corazon Aquino fired Brig. Gen. Narciso Cabrera for failing to contain the loyalist protests. Lim has announced he will not tolerate rallies unless permits to demonstrate are obtained from the city government.

Helmeted police banged their shields with clubs and unrolled firehoses as they charged across the park, scattering the Marcos loyalists and hundreds of screaming people out for a Sunday stroll.

Swelling to about 4,000, the Marcos supporters regrouped a mile away, barricading a portion of Roxas Boulevard with coconut trees and strips of metal.

Five firetrucks bombarded them with water cannons, sending most of them fleeing into restaurants and sidestreets.

A few braved the jets of water, waving Philippine flags and chanting, ″We want Marcos.″

Laurel, returning from his talks with Reagan in Bali, Indonesia, said the U.S. president asked that the Philippines government, which has canceled Marcos’ passport, reconsider its objection to Marcos finding another place of exile.

Laurel said he told Reagan that Marcos should remain in U.S. territory to face Filipino charges that he illegally acquired American real estate.

He said he told Reagan that ″if we allow him to transfer to a third country, he might get hold of his money and use it to destabilize our government, so it was a natural concern, and they (the Americans) understood our position.″

Laurel said his government ″perhaps will consider″ Marcos’ return to the Philippines after new elections are held and political normalcy achieved.

Marcos fled the Philippines on Feb. 26 in the face of a massive civilian- military rebellion.

Elsewhere, communist guerrillas killed a town police chief and eight soldiers in two ambushes on southern Samar and Mindanao islands, military reports said.

On Mindanao, communist guerrillas opened fire on an army supply truck in Misamis Occidental province, killing eight soldiers, the military said.

On Samar, guerrillas held up a vehicle carrying Capt. Cecilio Abalos, police chief of Wright municipality, ordered him out and marched him into a forest where they shot him, the military said.

The military said more than 700 people have died in rebel-related violence across the country in the 10 weeks the Aquino government has been in office.

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