Protests in Ecuador over Fuel Prices Block Traffic after 275 Arrested

Protest on October 3rd in Quito, Ecuador.  Photo: Dolores Ochoa / www.goskagit.com

HAVANA TIMES – Protests against the lifting of fuel subsidies hampered traffic in the Ecuadorian capital, Quito, on Friday, one day after 275 people were arrested and 28 police officers were injured in clashes during nationwide protests, reported dpa news.

Protesting taxi drivers blocked roads in several parts of the capital. Some of them erected barricades and burned tires, according to daily El Comercio.

Three leaders of the transport sector were arrested on Friday, including the president of a taxi drivers’ federation, reported daily El Telegrafo.

President Lenin Moreno on Thursday decreed a state of emergency for 60 days after taxi and bus drivers blocked roads, protesters clashed with police in Quito and shops were looted in Guayaquil.

Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo said those detained on Thursday included people engaged in acts of vandalism who had nothing to do with the transport sector.

Romo said the government was negotiating with transport entrepreneurs.

The lifting of the 40-year-old subsidies on Thursday made some fuel prices more than double. But Romo described their elimination as “a vital measure for the country.”

The government says the subsidies distort the economy and that scrapping them will bring savings worth billions of dollars, alongside tax reforms.

Ecuador reached a deal worth 4.2 billion dollars with the International Monetary Fund earlier this year.



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