Authorities declared a state of emergency on Thursday, October 3, after nationwide protests erupted across major urban centers. Protesters took to the streets in Quito and the second city Guayaquil to denounce the elimination of fuel subsidies. In opposition to the move, transportation unions launched an indefinite strike on Thursday that caused severe transportation disruptions across the country. According to the Ministry of Interior, 19 people were arrested on Thursday for blocking roads and other crimes. Clashes were reported in downtown Quito after police forcibly dispersed a protest outside the Carondelet Palace.
Associated protests are expected across the country, including in Quito, over the coming days. A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected in the vicinity of any protest. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
President Lenín Moreno announced on October 1 that the government would eliminate nearly USD 1.3 billion in fuel subsidies in an effort to reduce the country's fiscal deficit. Prices of gasoline and diesel fuel are expected to increase significantly as a result of the measure, which came into effect on October 3.
Individuals in Ecuador are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate a heightened security presence and associated transportation and business disruptions, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
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