Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno imposed a military-enforced curfew in Quito and surrounding valleys beginning at 15:00 (local time) on Saturday, October 12, to restore order as clashes continued between anti-austerity demonstrators and security forces in the capital for a tenth day. The curfew comes after Conaie, an umbrella organization representing indigenous groups in Ecuador, agreed on Saturday to hold direct negotiations with Moreno to discuss the repeal of a law which cut fuel subsidies in the country. It was not immediately reported when the curfew would be lifted.
Groups of young men obstructed roads with burning tires and rocks and reportedly set fire to the national comptroller's office on Saturday; police fired tear gas at demonstrators around the parliamentary building. Notably, access roads to Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) were blocked on Saturday.
Additional protests and consequent disruptions to business and transportation are to be expected in Quito and in other major urban centers in Ecuador over the coming days. Accompanying 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 Moreno's announcement 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. President Moreno moved his government from Quito to Guayaquil following violent protests that vandalized the assembly building in the capital on October 7.
Individuals in Quito and across Ecuador are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations, anticipate a heightened security presence and associated disruptions to transportation and business, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
Copyright and Disclaimer