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Ecuador: Police Strike Denounced as Attempt to Destabilize Country

Tension. That is the word that summarizes the current situation in Ecuador. A police strike began today when a group of Ecuadorian policemen shut down Quito's international airport and the main regiment of the city in a protest against President Rafael Correa. The strike began at 8 this morning in the Nº1 Regiment in Quito against changes to the Public Service Law, which reduced benefits for various public entities. In an attempt to dialogue with the police, President Correa suffered a tear gas assault and is being treated at the Metropolitan Hospital in Quito.

Events are developing rapidly, with new information emerging from various sources since this morning. On Twitter, citizens report cases of roadblocks, assaults and bank robberies, while sharing their different views on the events. La Patilla developed a comprehensive graphic summary where it also informs about Correa's words when he faced the police, telling them, “Kill me if you want.” Various social organizations and institutional websites [es] have announced their support for the President outside government buildings, according to reports from the independent media source ALER [es]. Journalist Paúl Mena Erazo (@PaulMena) reports:

Partidarios del presidente Correa se concentran a las afueras del Palacio de Gobierno, en Quito. #policiaec

Supporters of President Correa have gathered outside the Government Palace, in Quito. #policiaec

People on the streets supporting the government. Twitpic by user @ppviche used with his permission.

Reactions

Malm Ecuador (@mapucha) informs that:

El mercado central tomado, los aeropuertos cerrados y los cuarteles de policía tomados porq les quitaron los juguetes!!!

The central market has been taken over, the airports are shut down and police headquarters also taken over because they took away their toys!!!

From Guayaquil, Fernando Astudillo (@ferastudillo) reports:

Llantas quemadas a lo ancho de varias vías de Guayaquil. Los estudiantes vuelven a sus casas. Anuncios de saqueos, caos.

Burned tires along several streets of Guayaquil. Students are going back home. Looting has been reported, chaos.

Ricardo Landivar (@RL360):

bancos de guayaquil cerrados. Caos vehicular en calle balsamos y calles cercanas #policiaecuador

Banks in Guayaquil are closed. Transportation chaos on street balsamos and nearby streets #policiaecuador

José Merino (@PPmerino) shares a speech by president Correa and other links with information:

#ecuador Discurso de Correa frente a soldados en rebelión http://ow.ly/2Mr74 y acá dos notas: http://ow.ly/2Mr86 http://ow.ly/2Mr8o

#ecuador Speech by Correa in front of soldiers rebelling http://ow.ly/2Mr74 and two articles: http://ow.ly/2Mr86 http://ow.ly/2Mr8o

Manifestation outside Province Justice Court. TwitPic by user Iván Andrés Muñoz @ivandresi used with his permission.

Reactions refer to the police uprising as a “coup d'état,” although there are different unconfirmed versions because the Ecuadorian army [es] has remained calm. Meanwhile, a state of emergecy [es] has been declared.

Nicolas R. Muñoz (@nicolasrmunoz) tweets his opinion:

No soy partidario de Correa.. Pero un golpe de Estado no es la solución!! Este “antidoto” seria peor que el veneno

I'm not a Correa supporter…but a coup d'état is not the solution!! This “antidote” would be worse than the poison

Raúl Vidal (@RaulVidalC) informs from Cuenca [es], one of the main cities in Ecuador:

La policia ya esta actuando en #Cuenca. estuvieron en la Feria Liber en donde hubo intento de saqueo #Ecuador

The police are already taking action in #Cuenca. they were at the Liber fair where there was a looting attempt #Ecuador

Juan Martinez (@Jamartinb) shares a call to keep calm:

No a intentos de golpe en #ecuador menos aun publicidad golpista A mantener la calma. No al amarillismo

No to attempts of Coup d'état in#ecuador and please no coup propaganda. Let's keep calm. No to sensationalism.

Luis Larrea (@lalarrea) says that,

Solo en Ecuador la policia se va de huelga y el Presidente agrava las cosas en vez de mejorarlas. De Ripley!

Only in Ecuador the police strike and the President makes things worse instead of making them better. Worthy of Ripley!

Santiago Flores (@Santiaxo):

Ser policia y actuar de esta manera, profesionalmente es igual de grave que ser un doctor ver a alguien muriendo y no hacer nada…

To be a policeman and to act this way, professionally it is as bad as when a doctor sees someone dying and does nothing.

Meanwhile, Twitter users and the media are reporting cases of looting in several cities sin the country:

RT @viottocnn: Hay reportes de saqueos en Quito y Guayaquil. Pte. permanece en el hospital #policiaec

RT @viottocnn: There are reports of looting in Quito and Guayaquil. The President is still at the hospital #policiaec

Protests

Ecuadorians are uploading citizen videos on YouTube, showing different manifestations and protests:

Through Twitter, users have also spread images of the protests. Perfil [es] put together a set of images tweeted by citizens, and newspaper Hoy shares official photographs through Flickr.

Solidarity Through Twitter

The government's party, Alianza País, has asked for solidarity in defending the government, responding to the request by assembly woman María Paula Romo. Juan Montalvo (@ECsinCensura) gives his opinion about the call to defend the government:

Ma Paula Romo dicie q estas no son las formas de hacer las cosas: mientras pide q la gente se enfrente a a policia a defender la rev taloka?

Ma Paula Romo says that this is not the way to do things: while she asks people to face the police to defend the revolution, is she crazy?

María Paula Romo (@mariapaularomo) denounced via Twitter that policemen entered the building that holds the National Assembly and,

Policias golpearon a 2 asambleistas, una está desmayada y la están atendiendo. Golpearon tambien a la gente d teleamazonas. Es inaceptable!

Policemen hit 2 congressmen, one has fainted and is being treated. They also hit people from [television channel] teleamazonas. This is unacceptable!

From Twitter, the Presidency of Ecuador (@Presidencia_Ec) announces:

Presidente continuará gobernando con una política de justicia y dignidad http://bit.ly/aG1hAz vía @elciudadano_ec

The President will continue to govern with dignity and justice http://bit.ly/aG1hAz vía @elciudadano_ec

And on Facebook RADIO PÚBLICA DE ECUADOR informs [es]:

Gobierno argentino muestra su respaldo al gobierno ecuatoriano. ‘La cancillería argentina da testimonio de su confianza en la institucionalidad democrática del hermano país y en la autoridad política del Presidente constitucional, Rafael Correa, para encontrar el mejor encauzamiento en defensa de los altos intereses del pueblo y el gobierno ecuatorianos’.

The Argentinean government shows their support to the Ecuadorian government. ‘The Argentinean Foreign Ministry testifies of their confidence in the democratic institutions of our sister country and the political authority of the constitutional President, Rafael Correa, to find the best course of action in defense of the highest interests of the Ecuadorian people and its government.’

The latest tweets report on an attempt to kidnap [es] or retain [es] President Rafael Correa by a group of policemen that are inside the hospital where the President is being treated. Journalists and citizens, like Estefani Espin (@estefaniespin), also reported that,

LOS MEDIOS PRIVADOS FUIMOS OBLIGADOS A DEJAR DE TRANSMITIR, SOLO EL CANAL DEL ESTADO ESTA EN CADENA NACIONAL.

PRIVATE MEDIA WERE FORCED TO STOP BROADCASTING, ONLY THE STATE CHANNEL IS ON A NATIONAL BROADCAST

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