Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ecuador's president attacked by police; government declares state of emergency

Country's leader trapped in hospital after assault, as government declares a one-week state of emergency.

Ecuador teetered on the brink of chaos early today as rebellious police officers protesting against austerity measures blocked airports and roads, occupied the national assembly and besieged the president in a hospital after physically assaulting him.

The government called the revolt a coup and declared a one-week state of emergency which put the military in charge of public order and suspended civil liberties. Peru shut its border with Ecuador.

"This is a coup attempt," President Rafael Correa told state-run Ecuador TV from the hospital where, outside, civilian supporters confronted mutinous police amid scenes of near anarchy.

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