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Ecuadorean troops rescue leader from rebel police

Oct 1, 2010 7:48:00 AM - thestate.com
Ecuador was under a state of siege Friday, with the military in charge of public order after rescuing President Rafael Correa from a hospital where he had been surrounded, roughed up and tear gassed by rebellious police.

Correa and his ministers called Thursday's revolt - in which insurgents also paralyzed the nation with airport shutdowns and highway blockades - an attempt to overthrow him and not just a simple insurrection over a new law that cuts benefits for public servants.

Other South American presidents quickly showed their support for Correa, rushing to a meeting in Buenos Aires early Friday and condemning what they called a coup attempt and kidnapping of Correa. The U.S. also warned those who threaten Ecuador's democracy that Correa has full U.S. support.

Both Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia alleged Friday that the United States was somehow behind the police rebellion, despite forceful U.S. declarations otherwise.

"The United States deplores violence and lawlessness, and we express our full support for President Rafael Correa and the institutions of democratic government in that country," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.