President Lenin Moreno ordered a curfew around government buildings and other state installations, including airports and oil refineries, effective as of Tuesday, October 8. The curfew restricts movement between 20:00 and 05:00 (local time). President Moreno also moved his administration from Quito to Guayaquil following violent protests that vandalized the assembly building in the capital on Monday, October 7. Several thousand indigenous people converged in the capital to participate in the opposition protests in recent days. Security forces have arrested approximately 570 protesters as of Tuesday. Local media outlets report that at least one person has died after ambulances were unable to reach him due to the demonstrations. Authorities have reported that at least 19 civilians and 43 police officers have sustained injuries in clashes between protesters wielding sticks and throwing stones, and police officers who used tear gas to disperse crowds. Several labor unions, student, and indigenous groups have also called for a nationwide general strike on Wednesday, October 9.
The Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources of Ecuador said that oil operations in the Pucuna and Palo Azul oil fields are suspended as of Tuesday evening due to their occupation by protesters. The ministry said it had asked the military to increase security protection at oil facilities following similar protest action that took place at three oil fields in the Orellana and Sucumbíos provinces (Amazon region) on October 7. According to government officials, oil production is expected to be reduced until operations can resume. The ministry also reported power disruptions on Tuesday following the protesters' occupation of Central Pucará power plant.
Similar protests and strikes, and consequent business and transportation disruptions, are to be expected in major urban centers in Ecuador over the coming days. Further 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.
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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