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Ecuadorean Police Surround Congress to Enforce Court Ruling


Hundreds of police have surrounded Ecuador's Congress to enforce a court decision to dismiss 57 lawmakers.

Ecuador's highest electoral court ordered those lawmakers fired after they voted to dismiss the court's top judge for backing a referendum on rewriting the constitution.

The court made the decision Wednesday, one day after the lawmakers voted to fire Judge Jorge Acosta.

The judge says his dismissal was illegal and that only the courts can remove him from office. The lawmakers say their dismissals by the court are also illegal.

Earlier this week, Ecuador's Congress filed a motion to stop an April 15 vote on whether to call a popular assembly to reform the constitution.

Leftist President Rafael Correa wants to change the constitution to limit the power of traditional political parties, which he blames for Ecuador's economic problems.

Many opposition politicians fear changing the constitution could boost presidential powers.

Last month, the 100-member Congress approved President Correa's request to hold the vote. But some lawmakers now say he has since made changes to the referendum text.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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