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Ecuador revolt: Attempted coup or uprising?

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Ecuadorean soldiers rescued President Rafael Correa overnight after a firefight with rebel police at a hospital. The country's police chief has resigned after a day and night of chaotic scenes.

It should be no surprise that some security force members are alienated by Correa.

He purged the military intelligence chief and other top officers in 2008, accusing them of withholding from him information they shared with U.S. agents. He also fired a top police commander he accused of exhibiting greater loyalty to Washington than Quito.

But in a country with Ecuador's history, a president needs to be careful how he treats the public servants who bear arms.

The civil service law passed Wednesday by a Congress dominated by Correa allies would end the practice of giving soldiers and police medals and cash bonuses with each promotion - and extend promotion intervals.

That stings for police and soldiers, who earn well under $1,000 a month.

One police officer said in a TV interview, his face covered, that the new law would rob him of a 15-year bonus of $3,000 that he was due. Said another: "our salaries are lousy. We work without schedules, without overtime and on holidays."

The law has yet to take effect.

Gonzalez asked Correa to review and consider rewriting it.

So far, neither the president nor anyone in his government has responded.

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Associated Press writers Gonzaolo Solano reported this story in Quito and Frank Bajak from Bogota, Colombia.


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