Is it a coup attempt or just police protests against salary cuts? The 24 hour rule is in effect.
“We’ve treated 50 people in Quito for medical emergencies due to asphyxiation due to tear gas and impacts from pellets and teargas canisters,” said Jorge Arteaga, a Red Cross spokesman.
Most of the injured had been involved in clashes outside the hospital where president Rafael Correa is being held.
Mr Arteaga said that injuries were also reported in other Ecuadoran cities where rebel police took to the streets.
Mr Correa was holed up at Quito’s National Police Hospital, where he was taken after a tear gas canister exploded near him when he addressed rebellious police at a barracks nearby.
Although the police are surrounding the hospital and preventing him from leaving, Mr Correa told ECTV television that he is still running the country.
“They’re not letting me out,” Mr Correa said. “They’ve got all the hospital exits surrounded.
“Obviously, it’s a kidnapping, when you kidnap the president,” he added.
Mr Correa said he would not negotiate with the officers while he remains a captive.
“I’d rather die,” he said.
A defiant Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa returned safely to the presidential palace late Thursday after spending hours held by police inside a hospital room outside Quito.
Minutes earlier, members of the Ecuadorian army — wearing gas masks — rescued him, a reporter for Ecuadorian Television reported.
Speaking from a balcony, Correa told thousands of jubilant supporters that he saw one person who was shot during the rescue, which he regretted.
He thanked his supporters — in particular his bodyguards — for standing behind him and said the rebel police effort to oust him had failed.
“Nobody has supported the police as much as this government, nobody has increased their salaries as much,” he said about police protests about what they thought were salary cuts. “After all we’ve done for the police, they did this!” he said, adding that he was held inside the room and not allowed to leave.
“Supposed national police!” he spat. “Shame on you!”
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Obviously, it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on in Ecuador at the moment, although it seems that it might be a failed coup attempt.
/if so, all I can say is better luck next time, Rafael Correa is a close protégé of oppressive socialism poster boy and enemy of the United States, Hugo Chavez
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