Latin America & Caribbean

Ecuador U-turn on controversial austerity law

President Correa visits an injured soldier at the Army Hospital in Quito
Image caption President Correa visited those injured in Thursday's revolt

A senior minister in the Ecuadorean government says parts of a law which provoked a police rebellion earlier this week will be rewritten.

Policy Minister Doris Soliz also told Reuters news agency President Rafael Correa would not now dissolve Congress.

President Correa had reportedly suggested he could rule by decree to push through his austerity measures.

The president said Thursday's unrest amounted to a coup attempt.

Under Ecuador's constitution, President Correa could have disbanded Congress and ruled by decree until new elections were held.

According to Doris Soliz, it was something the president had considered after members of his Country Alliance had threatened to block his proposals to shrink the country's bureaucracy.

But on Saturday, Ms Soliz said that measure was now "not part of the immediate scenario".

'Political trap'

The protests were the most serious challenge for President Correa, who took office in 2007 and won a second term in 2009.

The disturbances started on Thursday, when angry police fired tear gas at President Correa as he confronted them at an army barracks.

When he was taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for the effects of the tear gas, protesters surrounded the building, trapping the president inside for more than 12 hours.

He was eventually spirited out by members of the special forces under cover of darkness.

On Saturday, President Correa said the people who had staged the rebellion would be rounded up and punished.

Speaking on state television, he said the protest had been "a political trap". "These crazy people were politically manipulated. They wanted to kill me," he added.

Three police colonels are under investigation for negligence, rebellion and attempted assassination.

Prosecutor Gonzalo Marco Freire said the three "should have known what their subordinates were doing."

They were arrested on Friday but have since been released, although they have been told not to leave the country.

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