Ecuadorian president extends state of emergency

13:31, October 06, 2010      

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Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa Tuesday signed a decree to extend until Friday a state of emergency which was imposed after last week's police protest and due to expire on Tuesday.

Under the decree, the armed forces are given the responsibilities to protect the country's sovereignty and police officials should obey the directions of the armed, naval and air forces.

It says that the military should guarantee the security of the National Assembly, so that the legislature, suspended due to "lack of guarantees," can fully exercise its constitutional power.

Meanwhile, recordings of police radio traffic released on Tuesday indicate the protestors had attempted to kill the president last week when they staged a revolt against a law that will cut police bonus as part of the austerity measures Correa is trying to push through.

The recordings contain communications between police officers during Thursday's riot, which ended with the rescue of Correa from the Police Hospital.

One of the recordings had messages such as "kill the president," "kill Correa, that man must leave the country and stop being president," "start shooting," "shoot him," "ambush him," "do not let him go out."

The recordings also contain orders to cut off electricity in the hospital and a warning on the arrival of military trucks to rescue Correa.

Security Minister Miguel Carvajal condemned these recordings, saying that "this unfortunately proves a kind of madness of the policemen who protested."

Also on Tuesday, Ecuadorian police detained retired army major Fidel Araujo, one of the top leaders of the opposition Patriotic Society Party, for his participation in the police protest last week.

Araujo was presented to a judge in charge of investigating Thursday's riot, which the Ecuadorian government has called a "coup attempt."

Correa's approval rating rose to 75 percent from 65 percent in August after the police riot, the highest since the end of 2008, according to a new poll.

Source: Xinhua


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