A small contingent of rebels laid seige to the Presidential Palace in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, on Monday (1 September) in an attempted coup d'etat but after 12 hours of fighting were defeated.
GV AERIAL VIEW of Quito
SV Tank drives on street
SV Armed troops (rebels) advancing
GV Civilians hid behind walls as soldiers fire
SV Rodriguez talking to reporters
GV Motorcade led by Rodriguez returns to palace
SV Rodriguez walks through palace mobbed by crowd
Initials CL/1900 0950/1050/1910
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Background: A small contingent of rebels laid seige to the Presidential Palace in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, on Monday (1 September) in an attempted coup d'etat but after 12 hours of fighting were defeated.
The rebels were under the leadership of General Raul Gonzales Alvear and consisted of a column of World War II tanks and about 150 men. They surrounded the Presidential Palace.
But President Rodriguez Lara, who took power in a coup himself in 1972, escaped from the Palace to a military base outside the city and rallied support from the country's 15,000 man Army, Navy and Airforce. Although the rebel units eventually overpowered 300 paratroopers and an 85 man Presidential guard at the palace, they surrendered when faced with the opposition of the rest of the country's military. President Rodriguez returned to the Palace with an armoured column.
During the fighting, 20 persons were killed and 80 injured. Since the attempted coup, General Rodriguez has arrested, in addition to the troops involved, about six army officers and some civilians believed involved in the plot.
The uprising was sparked off by an announcement by President Rodriguez that he was imposing a 60 percent tax on imports. The announcement was greeted by a threat by industrial sectors to take strike action and six political parties formed a civic junta to head off the proposed tax. Within 48 hours the rebel unit had attacked the Palace.
General Gonzales and other leaders of the abortive coup have fled to foreign embassies to seek political asylum.
President Rodriguez has said he will continue with his plans to impose the tax and business interests are warning that economic chaos will result.