Protests and transportation-provider strikes denouncing cuts to fuel subsidies paralyzed transportation across Ecuador on Friday, October 4, with some 350 arrests reported, primarily in Quito and Guayaquil. Notably, taxis obstructed streets in Quito on Friday to protest the surge in fuel prices, with taxi and bus services on strike in the capital and Guayaquil. According to western diplomatic authorities, some access roads to Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO), serving Quito, remain blocked and several domestic and international flights operating to and from UIO have been canceled as of Friday.
Similar protests and consequent transportation disruptions are to be expected in major urban centers in Ecuador over the coming days. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
A national transportation strike was launched in Ecuador on October 3 in response to President Lenín Moreno announcing on October 1 that the government would eliminate nearly USD 1.3 billion in fuel subsidies to reduce the country's fiscal deficit. The Ecuadorian government has declared a state of emergency and deployed military and police forces to reopen roads and restore order in protest-affected areas.
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, avoid all protests and demonstrations, 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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