Quito police commander Patricio Pérez said Friday that police officers acted professionally in a confrontation Thursday afternoon with supporters of former president Rafael Correa outside the National Assembly building.
“Despite being attacked with rocks and sticks and being verbally assaulted, our force acted responsibly and attacked no one in return,” he said. “Our job was to maintain order and we did that in a professional manner.”
Pérez’s comments came in response to claims by protesters that they were beaten by police during the confrontation.
Former National Assembly president Gabriela Rivadeneira Tweeted that “during our peaceful demonstration, several citizens and assembly members were aggressively attacked by a group of police officers.”
Another protester, assemblyman Bairon Valle, claimed police “brutally assaulted us on the outside of the assembly. They threw tear gas at assembly members and used force to prevent us from meeting in the assembly.”
A photo posted on social media following the confrontation shows Rivadeneira in bed, wearing an oxygen mask.
The protesters, numbering about 250 according to Pérez, had gathered to show support for Correa ahead of vote in the National Assembly that determined that the former president could be prosecuted as a private citizen in a 2012 kidnapping case.