In the face of social protest, Ecuador declares a state of emergency

More than 300 protesters were arrested during a strike by carriers against rising fuel prices.

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In Quito, on October 4th.
In Quito, on October 4th. RODRIGO BUENDIA / AFP

Lenin Moreno did not hang out. Thursday, October 3, the President of Ecuador declared a state of emergency for sixty days throughout the country, just hours after the start of the strike of carriers who protested against a rise in fuel prices over 100 %. Schools and high schools were closed for forty-eight hours. The demonstrations in Quito and Guayaquil ended in clashes with the police and more than 300 arrests, including those of taxi federation leader Jorge Calderon and indigenous leader Marlon Santi. But on Friday, transport was still paralyzed and the protesters again on the street. The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities announced that it was joining the movement, which has spread to several parts of the country. In the evening representatives of the carriers, bus drivers and taxis have decided to lift the strike, "By refusing responsibility for acts of vandalism committed". An agreement, the content of which has not been revealed, would have been found with the government.

In evoking the need for "Correct the serious imbalances of the Ecuadorian economy", the president announced Tuesday the package of economic measures that set fire to the powder. "Public subsidies for gas prices have benefited for years those who do not need it and those who are smugglers"justified the head of state. These subsidies – put in place forty years ago – cost the state $ 1.3 billion (€ 1.2 billion) a year. From Thursday, the gallon (3.7 liters) of diesel has risen from 1.03 to 2.30 dollars, that of super from 1.85 to 2.40 dollars. Students, unions and Indians joined the transport movement.

Bitter pill

The other measures announced by the government must be ratified by the Assembly, where the government does not have a majority. They are just as unpopular. Civil servants lose half of their vacation time, which goes from thirty to fifteen days a year, the salaries of contract workers lose 20% and all employees of the public sector a day's salary. Companies with more than $ 10 million in revenue will be subject to a new tax that should allow the government to raise $ 300 million a year. Customs duties will rise sharply.


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