Ecuador’s president has declared a state of emergency to confront clamorous street protests and a nationwide strike of the transport sector over his decision to suspend government fuel subsidies and relax labour protections, AFP reported on Thursday, October 3rd.
In a statement to the press, President Lenin Moreno explained that the measures had been taken "to safeguard the security of citizens and to avoid chaos,” citing that the decree has been issued to put an end to civil rights and grant the authorities full control over both public and private property.
The demonstrations have put the country on halt and paralysed public transportation in some areas that have witnessed severe clashes between police and demonstrators, which led to the arrest of around 19 people, according to Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo.
Fuel prices went up 120 per cent after the government eliminated subsidies as part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, which would allow Ecuador to borrow $4.2 billion.
The “state of emergency” has been a common feature of politics in Ecuador. In August 2018, the government introduced a state of emergency in three provinces of due to the influx of refugees from Venezuela, the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry said, local media sources reported.
Meanwhile, earlier in January 2018, Ecuador’s president declared a state of emergency and tightened security in two cities after a car bomb attack on a police station in San Lorenzo injured at least 28 people and damaged dozens of buildings, according to RT News.
A state of emergency predominantly grants the government the full right to restrict freedoms such as movement, employ the armed forces to maintain order, and censor the press, according to AFP.