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Violent protests as deputies storm Ecuador Congress

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Violent protests as deputies storm Ecuador Congress

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There are signs that the political situation in Ecuador is becoming dangerously unstable. What was formerly angry rhetoric between new President Rafael Correa and the country’s legislators has now spilled over into violence. The situation took a turn for the worse when ousted deputies broke a police cordon outside Congress and forced their way inside.

Outside, officers wearing riot gear used tear gas to disperse crowds of supporters from both sides. One lawmaker suffered a back injury when he was knocked to the ground during a scuffle. Health officials said the man was carried away on a stretcher by emergency workers and loaded into an ambulance. The violence has forced Congress to suspend its sessions for a week.

Electoral reform is the root of the problem. Correa told 57 deputies to stand down after they sought to overturn a ruling paving the way for a referendum on the issue. But they refused. Experts fear the unrest could mean Correa will eventually struggle to govern his country – which has seen three Presidents in the last decade.