Ecuadorian President denounces "coup attempt"

12:11, October 01, 2010      

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Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said late Thursday that he was "kidnapped" in a military hospital of Quito and the police protest was a coup attempt.

The president called himself "practically captive" in a telephone interview after being surrounded and kept from leaving Police Hospital of Quito where he sought treatment after being exposed to tear gas by rioting police officers protesting against a law that would cut their benefits.

Correa and his government have not been able to carry out affective actions to stop the protests, which began early Thursday morning when the policemen occupied the first Regiment Quito, one of the main police quarters.

The protest was joined by some troops and policemen, who have blocked highways in Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca and other cities. About 150 members of the Ecuadorian Air Forces (FAE) also shut down the international airport of Quito.

Despite that, the army commanders have expressed support to Correa. The armed forces commander, Gen. Ernesto Gonzalez, declared the military's loyalty to Correa at a news conference later Thursday.

He also called for dialogue between the police and supporters of President Correa and a review or suspension of the law that provoked the protest.

The government declared a state of emergency, putting the military in charge of public order, suspending civil liberties and allowing soldiers to carry out searches without a warrant.

About 800 police officers in Quito joined the protest. At least one person was killed and more than ten injured in the clashes between police and supporters of President Correa, the Security Ministry said.

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino was also injured and sent to a hospital.

About 50 people were injured during the clashes, AFP quoted a Red Cross spokesman as saying.

Schools shut down in Quito and many businesses closed early.

In the wake of the riot, Latin American leaders on Thursday expressed their support to President Correa.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim phoned his Ecuadorian counterpart Ricardo Patino to express "Brazil's total support and solidarity with president Correa and the Ecuadorian democratic institutions."

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said that "the government of Argentina strongly rejects the rebellion of the Ecuadorian military and police forces, which endanger its democratic institutions."

Source:Xinhua
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(Editor:梁军)

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