Protests organized by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities in Ecuador (CONAIE) have caused severe nationwide transportation disruptions on Monday, October 7, as demonstrators blocked roads with stones, tires, and burning branches. Additional security forces were deployed to guard the Carondelet Palace in Quito on Monday where a government security council meeting was convened. In Cotopaxi province, protesters reportedly looted the warehouse of a dairy company and attacked a number of farms. CONAIE has stated that the protests would continue indefinitely in response to the government's slashing of fuel subsidies.
Similar protests and strikes, and consequent business and 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.
Several civil society groups and unions began protesting and striking 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. Prices of gasoline and diesel fuel are expected to increase significantly as a result of the measure, which came into effect on October 3. The Ecuadorian government has declared a two-month state of emergency and deployed military and police forces to reopen roads and restore order in protest-affected areas. Security forces have since arrested at least 477 people and used tear gas to disperse protesters.
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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