MANILA — ARMY rebels perched on top of apartment blocks in Manila's business district yesterday fought off attacking government forces with grenades and bazookas in fierce street battles. The sound of heavy gunfire and explosions echoed across the Makati business area where hundreds of foreign businessmen and tourists were trapped in four luxury hotels. Military spokesman Oscar Florendo said about 400 well-armed rebels were dug in at more than 15 buildings in Makati.
One American was reportedly wounded when he was hit by sniper fire in the five-star Peninsula Hotel.
Windows in the British embassy in the Locsin Building were knocked out by rebel fire, witnesses said. The Philippine News Agency said rebel snipers shot on sight anyone entering their area of control.
Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos repeated yesterday that the sixth coup attempt against President Corazon Aquino since she was swept to power in 1986 had been put down. But rebel units fought on amid the supermarkets, high-rise apartment blocks, and offices of Makati where many embassies and multinational corporations are located.