Moreno leaves capital, orders curfew

Source:AFP Published: 2019/10/9 22:48:40

Amid escalating violence, Ecuador president rules out own resignation

Riot police launches tear gas during clashes with students in Quito, Ecuador on Tuesday following days of protests against the sharp rise in fuel prices sparked by authorities' decision to scrap subsidies.


Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno on Tuesday ordered a curfew around government buildings after six days of violent anti-austerity protests that have pushed his administration out of the capital Quito and brought hundreds of arrests.

Following tactics that have toppled previous governments, thousands of indigenous demonstrators have flooded the highland capital. 

Some burst through security cordons to briefly enter the National Assembly on Tuesday, waving flags, pumping their fists and chanting, "We are the people!"

Elsewhere in Quito and other ­flashpoints, masked and stick-wielding protesters hurled stones and battled with security forces, who responded with tear gas. The clashes injured 19 civilians and 43 police officers, authorities said.

China is highly concerned about the political situation in Ecuador, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng ­Shuang told a daily press conference on Wednesday. China opposes all forms of violence and hopes that all parties in Ecuador can resolve their differences peacefully through dialogue and maintain political stability, he added.

Moreno has refused to reinstate fuel subsidies he recently cut and ruled out stepping down.

"Under no circumstance," Moreno said in an interview with domestic TV channel Teleamazonas late on Tuesday. "I don't see why I should [resign] if I'm making the right decisions."

Moreno has declared a state of emergency and relocated government operations to the coastal city of Guayaquil where there has been less trouble.

In a written decree on Tuesday, Moreno ordered that authorities restrict movement close to government buildings and strategic installations between 8 pm and 5 am to keep order.

Protests erupted on October 3 when the government cut fuel subsidies as part of a package of reforms, in keeping with a $4.2 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan.

Moreno told Teleamazonas the measures would help Ecuador rein in an "­immense" fiscal deficit he inherited from leftist predecessor Rafael Correa, whom he accuses of misusing public funds and leaving behind a raft of unfinished or unneeded construction projects.

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