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Ecuador Police Use Tear Gas to Disperse Protesters


Officials in Ecuador say police used tear gas to disperse at least 1,000 anti-government protesters in the capital, Quito, Tuesday.

Reports from the scene say the protesters were calling on Congress to remove Supreme Court Justices aligned with President Lucio Gutierrez. No injuries or arrests were reported.

Tension has been escalating in the nation since December, when Congress fired 27 of the country's 31 Supreme Court judges. The lawmakers acted after President Gutierrez accused the judges of bias against him.

The move at that time sparked massive street protests and prompted a top United Nations legal expert, Leandro Despouy, to visit Ecuador recently to assess the crisis. U.N. officials say the crisis could irreversibly affect the judiciary's independence.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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