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Tensions boil over as Ecuadorans protest against prison order for Correa

Tensions boil over as Ecuadorans protest against prison order for Correa

Tensions boil over as Ecuadorans protest against prison order for Correa
July 06
10:58 2018

Thousands of Ecuadorans took to the streets of Quito in defence of former president Rafael Correa, who was earlier this week ordered to be jailed as part of a case involving the kidnapping of a lawmaker.

The prison order has set up a showdown with Belgium-based Correa, his supporters and the government of Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno, Reuters reported.

Carrying giant 'No, Neoliberalism' signs and shouting “A united community will never be beaten,” demonstrators marched along Quito's 10 de Agosto Avenue towards the Plaza Grande, outside President Moreno's executive offices, but were blocked by police and military forces, according to various media reports.

Minor clashes were reported to have broken out when police forces closed off the streets to prevent the march to continue. In their slogans, protesters accused current president Moreno of 'betrayal.' “We see this government doesn't represent the interests of the people. And our top leader Rafael Correa is being politically persecuted,” one protester said, as reported by AFP.

In 2012, former opposition lawmaker Fernando Balda was briefly kidnapped in neighbouring Colombia, where he had fled after being sentenced to two years in prison for slander against Correa. Balda accused the former president of having orchestrated the kidnapping, which the Colombian police broke up after a few hours.

Correa, who served as the president of Ecuador from 2007 to 2017, has always said he had nothing to do with the incident and has accused his successor Moreno of seeking to smear his administration for political gain, Reuters added in its report.

Judge Daniella Camacho has ordered Correa, who is living in Belgium, to present himself in Ecuadoran courts every two weeks. Instead, he presented himself to the Ecuadoran consulate in Belgium, which the judge termed a violation of her orders.

A request to Interpol and possible extradition is expected to follow as political pressure rises in Ecuador.

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