The President of Ecuador declared a state of emergency in three provinces due to the demonstrations. Various demographic groups are calling for lower fuel prices. President Guillermo Lasso said a state of emergency was in effect in the capital, Quito.
Anti-government demonstrations turned into violent clashes between activists and riot police on several occasions. Since the protests began last Monday, at least 43 people have been injured and 36 people have been arrested.
Ecuador is facing rising inflation, unemployment and poverty, which have increased during the coronavirus pandemic. Since 2020, fuel prices have risen sharply, almost doubling in the case of diesel.
Several indigenous groups of Ecuadoreans initiated these actions, and students, workers, and others have now joined in. Demonstrators blocked major highways, including roads to and around Quito, among other things. The activists said they will continue until their demands are met.
The state of emergency gives the president more powers
Kony, an influential coalition of indigenous groups that has called for protest, is demanding, among other things, that the government lower fuel prices. President Lasso should also step in to keep the cost of food down. Talks about this with the government have so far not resulted in a breakthrough.
By declaring a state of emergency, the lasso gains more powers, for example, summoning the army and imposing a curfew. To calm the mood, he announced on Friday, among other things, that the monthly benefits for the poorest people in Ecuador would increase slightly.