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Correa extends state of emergency and Army replaces police as Congress guards

Wednesday, October 6th 2010 - 05:16 UTC
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For the Ecuadorean president the mutiny was a coup attempt For the Ecuadorean president the mutiny was a coup attempt

Ecuador's government extended a state of emergency and soldiers replaced the police as the force that guards Congress after a deadly revolt by some officers last week over a new law cutting their bonuses.

Angry police officers took to the streets of Quito last Thursday burning tires, looting and beating President Rafael Correa followers. Correa was in a hospital for hours after been gassed by the mutinous forces and was finally rescued to safety by army commandos in a hail of gunfire.

Correa, a fiery leftist allied with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, called the incident a coup attempt.

“Due to the lamentable events of September 30,” a letter from Congress to the Defence ministry said, “we ask you to transfer the security of the legislature to the military.”

The letter said Congress wanted the military to handle congressional security for as long as a state of alert decreed by Correa remained in effect. The decree, expected to expire at midnight, was extended until Friday by a fresh presidential order.

Congress suspended a debate that had been scheduled for Tuesday on a public finances bill.

Correa has majority support in Ecuador's 124-member Congress. But his legislative agenda has been deadlocked by disagreements within his coalition over bills that have drawn public criticism, such as proposals to reform state finances and the higher education system.

After the uprising by dissident police, the government agreed to raise wages in the armed forces and police.

Defence Minister Javier Ponce said the pay increases had long been in the pipeline and it was merely chance they were approved just days after the police revolt.

The government had said earlier the curtailing of bonuses and perks for police, soldiers, fire-fighters and other public employees has been more than offset by base salary increases granted since Correa first took office in 2007.

After confronting police protesters on Thursday, Correa was insulted and physically bullied until he took refuge in a hospital near police headquarters in Quito.

He was rescued in a night-time raid by loyal troops. At least ten people died and 300 injured during the incidents. Correa’s special limousine had at least ten bullet impacts, according to the latest reports.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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  • Hoytred

    Starting to look like a coup after all .... by Correa !

    Oct 06th, 2010 - 05:49 am 0
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