Friday, 1 October 2010

Ecuador President Rescued after Coup Attempt

Correa, sitting in a wheelchair and wearing a gas mask during the rescue operation.

01/10/2010 Ecuador on Thursday witnessed a coup attempt led by the police. Troops at night rescued President Rafael Correa after 12 hours under siege by police amid gunfire and street clashes that left at least two dead. The Red Cross said two police were killed and 37 people wounded in the operation late Thursday that freed Correa.

Addressing supporters on a balcony at the presidential palace, Correa said: "we will never negotiate anything under pressure," Correa exulted, telling the crowd that he had told his captors: "Or I come out as the president of a worthy country or I come out as a corpse."

"There were lots of infiltrators, dressed as civilian and we know where they were from."

Correa said those responsible for the rebellion would be punished.

"There will be no pardon," he said, as crowds waved flags and cheered, celebrating his release.

Correa went to the police barracks in Quito to face down who shared in the rebellion.

"No, I will not step back if they want to seize the barracks, if they want to leave the citizens defenseless and betray their mission," Correa told police from Quito's main regiment.

The government declared a state of emergency and ordered the military to restore order.

Correa, 47, a leftist ally of his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez, swiftly denounced what he called a coup bid by forces loyal to former president Lucio Gutierrez, a retired colonel who was overthrown in 2005.

"It is a coup attempt led by the opposition and certain sections of the armed forces and the police," said Correa, who has governed the country since 2007.

He was re-elected last year to a second term at the helm of the country of some 14.5 million people.

The White House expressed "full support" for Correa and called for a peaceful end to the crisis, while EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton urged all sides to refrain from violence.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

No comments: