The President of Ecuador, Lucio Gutierrez, has declared a state of emergency after mass protests in the capital, Quito. 

President Gutierrez said he was compelled to take such a drastic measure in order to maintain calm and stability in the country.

Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the capital's streets to demand the president's resignation.

The unrest was sparked by a bid by the ruling party to restructure the nation's Supreme Court undertaken at the end of last year.