Protests Erupt in Ecuador; Soldiers Seize Main Airport
Angry military troops and police officers are taking to the streets of Ecuador where the country's president is refusing to back down over a new round of budget cuts.
Troops upset about salary and benefit cuts seized the country's main airport Thursday, while police officers fired tear gas, burned tires and shut down highways leading to the capital of Quito.
There were also reports of protests in Guayaquil and other cities.
Ecuador's military chief insisted Thursday the country's armed forces remain loyal to President Rafael Correa, while Mr. Correa challenged protesters at police headquarters in Quito to kill him. Instead, several officers hurled water at the president, forcing him to leave.
The Ecuadorian president is defending the budget cuts as necessary, arguing they are affecting all government sectors.
Mr. Correa took power in 2007 and was re-elected last year after the country approved a new constitution.
The Ecuadorian leader is an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and, like the Venezuelan leader, has been critical of U.S. policy in Latin America.
Ecuador has about 14 million people and a history of political instability.
Article by VOA News