[JURIST] President Lucio Gutierrez of Ecuador [Wikipedia profile] declared a state of emergency in the capital Quito late Friday and dissolved the Ecuador Supreme Court [official website in Spanish]. The drastic measures announced in a surprise national television address came after three days of protests in the streets of Quito, which Gutierrez blames on unpopular Supreme Court judges. Rather than quell the protests, the declaration has caused thousands of people to descend on the capital to rally against Gutierrez and against the state of emergency which suspends the rights to free expression and freedom of assembly. This is the second time in four months that the Ecuadorian Supreme Court has been dissolved, the first time [JURIST report] being because Gutierrez declared that the court was biased against him [BBC report]. Both the US and the UN have expressed concern over the government's interference with the operation of the Court. Reuters has more. From Quito, the Diaro Hoy newspaper has the latest developments in Spanish.
6:32 PM ET – AP is reporting that Gutierrez has now called off the state of emergency in Quito in another televised address.