International

Unrest In Ecuador: Protesting Security Forces Seize Airport

Rafael Correa

With a gas mask on his head, Ecuador's President Rafael Correa gestures as he runs away from tear gas during a protest of police officers and soldiers. Dolores Ochoa/Associated Press hide caption

itoggle caption Dolores Ochoa/Associated Press

UPDATE AT 2:26 p.m. EDT: The Associated Press is reporting President Rafael Correa was hospitalized from the effects of tear gas and being pelted with water. He had stood in front of protesting police and said, "If you want to kill the president, here he is! Kill me!"

Reuters says Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino called on Ecuadorians to march on the hospital to "rescue" the president from the police protestors. Correa is calling the unrest a "coup attempt."

Rebellious police personnel shout slogan

Rebellious police personnel shout slogans at the Regimiento Quito barracks, in Quito, September 30, 2010. RODRIGO BUENDIA/Getty hide caption

itoggle caption RODRIGO BUENDIA/Getty

Hundreds of police and soldiers took to the streets in Ecuador today. They shut off highway access to the capital Quito and seized the airport. They fired tear gas and burned tires after taking over bases in Quito, Guayaquil, and other cities.

The Associated Press reports:

The protesters were angered by a law passed by Congress on
Wednesday that would end the practice of giving members of
Ecuador's military and police medals and bonuses with each
promotion. It would also extend from five to seven years the usual
period required for before a subsequent promotion.

TV grab showing Ecuador's President Rafa

TV grab showing Ecuador's President Rafael Correa giving a speech at the Army Regiment of Quito on September 30, 2010. HO/Getty hide caption

itoggle caption HO/Getty

The top army commander in Ecuador says the military remains loyal to President Rafael Correa. Correa is quoted as calling the protestors "ungrateful bandits."

The BBC reports that Correa had been considering dissolving parliament and ruling by decree.

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