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Ecuador in State of Siege

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Ecuador's government says the country remains under a state of emergency, with the military controlling security, the day after soldiers rescued President Rafael Correa from a police rebellion.

The president has called the revolt - in which police angry over proposed benefit cuts seized control of the country's main airport and shut down highways - an attempt to overthrow his administration, and not just a simple protest.

Mr. Correa accused supporters of former president Lucio Gutierrez of inciting the violence, but Mr. Gutierrez has denied the accusation.

Mr. Correa was trapped for hours in a hospital until soldiers stormed the building late Thursday. The soldiers rushed the president, who was wearing a gas mask and helmet, away from the building in a wheelchair.

After being returned to the presidential palace, Mr. Correa told a cheering crowd of supporters he was grateful for those who stood up against the rebels.

Police chief resigns

Ecuador's police chief, Freddy Martinez, resigned Friday for failing to stop the revolt. The country's military has been placed in charge of public order and civil liberties have been suspended.

At an emergency meeting Friday in Argentina, a group of South American leaders vowed regional support for Mr. Correa, condemning the violence and what they called "an attempted coup."

What sparked protest?

The chaos began Thursday during a meeting between President Correa and a group of police demonstrating about the new law that would eliminate bonuses and promotions.

Tempers flared and the president was accosted and tear gassed. After challenging the strikers to kill him, the president's aides pulled him away and took him to the hospital for safety.

At least two people were killed and dozens injured when soldiers stormed the building to rescue the president.

Mr. Correa, who has been in office since 2007, was re-elected to a second term last year. He is an ally of Venezuela's socialist president, Hugo Chavez, and has been critical of U.S. policy in Latin America.

Article by VOA News