Ecuadoreans protest against  Government of President Lucio Gutierrez shouting "Out Lucio" in Quito, Ecuador, Friday
Ecuador's President Lucio Gutierrez has dismissed the Supreme Court and declared a state of emergency in the capital, Quito, in an effort to ease a mounting political crisis.

Mr. Gutierrez made the announcement late Friday in a nationally televised address.

Thousands of pro-opposition activists have been staging mostly peaceful street rallies for the last few days to protest the government's restructuring of the Supreme Court late last year.

In December, Congress fired 27 of 31 justices and designated new ones after President Gutierrez accused the judges of bias against him. The move outraged the opposition, which complained the restructuring by the ruling party dominated congress was an attempt by the Gutierrez government to establish control over the high court.

The president fired the new judges Friday.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.