Ecuador's President Defiant After Hospital Rescue

A defiant Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa returned safely to the presidential palace late Thursday after spending hours held by police inside a hospital room outside Quito. Minutes earlier, members of the Ecuadorian army -- wearing gas masks -- rescued him, a reporter for Ecuadorian Television reported. Speaking from a balcony, Correa told thousands of jubilant supporters that he saw one person who was shot during the rescue, which he regretted. He thanked his supporters -- in particular his bodyguards -- for standing behind him and said the rebel police effort to oust him had failed. "Nobody has supported the police as much as this government, nobody has increased their salaries as much," he said about police protests about what they thought were salary cuts. "After all we've done for the police, they did this!" he said, adding that he was held inside the room and not allowed to leave. "Supposed national police!" he spat. "Shame on you!" "We never accept negotiating anything under pressure," he added. Correa also said the actions of the police left him "profoundly sad, like there was a knife in my back." Earlier Thursday, national police took to the streets of Quito, the capital, and physically attacked the president over what police said was the cancellation of bonuses and promotions. The minister of security, Miguel Carvajal, said one person was killed and several were wounded, but did not offer details. The government declared a one-week state of emergency Thursday afternoon and put the military in charge of security. The military said it will support the president and the nation's democratic institutions. "This is a coup attempt," Correa said in a TV interview from the hospital, where he had been taken after police lobbed tear gas at him. Correa, 47, said police were trying to get at him there.
http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/09/30/ecuador.unrest/index.html?hpt=T1