Thousands of protesters took to the streets in the Philippines on Monday ahead of an annual key speech of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in Congress, which was expected to focus on the economy.
Security was tight at the House of Representatives compound in Manila, where Arroyo was scheduled to deliver her state of the nation address later in the day.
Some 5,000 rallyists marched towards the House of Representatives, but were blocked by anti-riot policemen about two kilometres away from the sprawling compound.
Authorities also used 40-foot container vans to block roads leading to the House of Representatives.
The demonstrators carried banners and streamers that read "Oust Gloria," "Junk terror law of Arroyo" and "Fight the real terror."
"We reject Arroyo's state of the nation address (SONA)," Renator Reyes, secretary general of the leftist New Nationalist Alliance or Bayan, said ahead of the president's speech.
"We reject the human rights situation. We are in a deeper crisis now than when she first delivered her SONA in 2001."
Arroyo's aides said her speech would focus on her administration's efforts to improve the economy, improve the infrastructure and fight security threats in the country.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Temmuz 2007, 16:29
"For the next three years, President Arroyo intends to lead us on a path of economic growth, political stability and social justice, her spokesman Ignacio Bunye said.
"One can be certain that among her most important goals during that period would be to ensure more and more of our people will not just see, but importantly experience, the tangible benefits of our growing economy," he added.