Ecuadorans mobilize in solidarity with Kurds

Scuffles broke out between pro-Kurdish protesters and police outside the National Higher Studies Institute in Quito where Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was speaking Feb. 4. Three women who maaged to infiltrate the audience during Erdogan's speech and stood up to shout slogans in support of the Kurds were forcibly ejected by Turkish security guards. Local media also reported that a member of Erdogan's security entourage attacked a protester as the Turkish president exited the building. Ecuadoran MP Diego Vintimilla was also injured during the incident, posting pictures to Twitter of his bloodied nose. Ecuador's government formally protested the violence, with the Foreign Ministry summoning the Turkish ambassador and calling the guards' behavior "irresponsible." Nonetheless, Erdogan and his Ecuadoran counterpart Rafael Correa signed a series of bilateral deals to boost diplomatic and trade relations. (EuroNews, BBC News, Feb. 5)