Thousands of protesters have demonstrated outside a Philippine army camp, where U.S. soldiers and Philippine troops have begun joint military exercises.

Demonstrators in the town of Carmen on the southern island of Mindanao chanted anti-U.S. slogans Tuesday and demanded that American troops leave the area.

U.S. soldiers will also take part in the Philippines' annual war games, to be held next month on Jolo island in the southern Philippines. Jolo is where the al-Qaida-linked militant group Abu Sayyaf has carried out bombings, kidnappings and killings of foreigners in recent years.

Philippine law prohibits American troops from joining any combat operations with Philippine forces.

Security for the war games will be tight, to protect the soldiers from attacks by rebels. In addition to military training, troops will carry out humanitarian missions to try to boost support among Jolo's residents.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.