POST Online Media Lite Edition


Ecuador declares state of emergency amid nationwide protests

Christian Fernsby |
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno on Thursday declared a nationwide 60-day state of emergency as transport workers went on strike to protest the end of decades-old fuel subsidies.

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Moreno said he took the measure "to avoid chaos" and protect the safety of citizens.

He said the unpopular decision to liberalize gasoline and diesel prices was made to correct the fiscal deficit and "serious errors" in Ecuador's dollarized economy.

"I have the courage to make the decisions that benefit this country," said Moreno.

After new fuel prices went into effect early in the day at gas stations, transport workers took to the streets, blocking roads with burning tires as protests turned violent in some places, mainly in the capital Quito.

Police and soldiers were stationed around the presidential headquarters in downtown Quito to keep away protesters.

As the strike paralyzed all means of transport, schools were closed across the country.

Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo said the state of emergency aims to prevent "a group of people from keeping the rest of the country from producing and going about their normal activities."

Some 19 people have been arrested so far around the country for blocking roads, launching attacks or resisting arrests, she said.

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