Ecuador President, Rafael Correa, has declared a ‘state of siege’ today after a national police strike turned violent, shutting down airports and blockades of key highways. The President himself was hospitalized when officers attacked him with tear gas, he was briefly hospitalized.
The police are angered by their reduced benefits that went into effect yesterday and took over key cities throughout the country including Quito, the capital. Much highway access to the capital has been cutoff. The striking police are now occupying the National Assembly in essence freezing the government.
Even though reports are sketchy as to the extent of the police insurrection international reaction has been swift. The U.S. Embassy has already issued a warning message to its citizens in Ecuador “to stay in their homes or current locations, if safe.” Neighboring Peru has closed all its border points with Ecuador but expressed support for President Correa.