Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa says a telephoned death threat forced the abrupt cancellation of a presidential lunch with citizens in a town near Quito.

Correa read aloud a threat at a news conference that he said the town's mayor received via text message on his cellphone.

He said the message threatened multiple deaths along with his own at Tuesday's lunch.

News media showed images of police and soldiers with dogs clearing people from the central square of Tabacundo after they had begun dining.