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Ecuadorean Armed Forces Will Continue to Be in Charge of Congressional Security

By Dialogo
May 10, 2012

The Ecuadorean government announced that the Armed Forces will continue to be in charge of security at the seat of Congress, a measure taken as a consequence of a police rebellion on September 30, 2010, the president’s office announced on May 8.

President Rafael Correa extended the decree declaring a “state of emergency in the Assembly’s facilities,” for two months, authorizing the Military to take charge of security for the building, which was under the care of the police prior to the uprising.

The measure, which has been repeatedly extended, states that this decision was made due to the fact that some police officers “severely distorted or abandoned their mission (…) and consequently their duties, through insubordination.”

“Despite the intensive process of institutional reorganization of the security system of that branch of the state, it has not been possible to overcome the aftereffects of that incident, something that could generate large-scale domestic disturbance if the Assembly was unable to fully carry out its functions,” the text adds.

During a state of emergency, which can be declared in the event of domestic disturbance, the president is authorized to suspend or limit civil rights, such as the inviolability of the home, and to impose prior censorship on information in the media and order the use of government forces.

On September 30, 2010, hundreds of police officers rebelled against a law reforming their pay, in protests that left 10 dead and 274 injured, led to Correa’s detention and the subsequent takeover of Congress by the protesters.

In mid-2011, the former head of legislative security, Colonel Rolando Tapia, was sentenced to three years in prison for attempting to undermine state security.

During the revolt, Correa denounced it as an attempted coup and decreed a national state of emergency, which was subsequently limited to Quito and then to the seat of the legislative branch.