Ecuador Government Returns to Capital Amid National Strike

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-09/ecuador-government-returns-to-capital-amid-national-strike

Riot police confront demonstrators during clashes in Quito on Oct. 9.

Photographer: Martin Bernetti/AFP via Getty Images

Ecuador’s government is returning to the nation’s capital, where rival groups are massing for rallies as unions and indigenous organizations declare a one-day national strike.

Earlier this week, President Lenin Moreno moved the government to the port city of Guayaquil amid mass unrest triggered by his decision to end fuel subsidies. Moreno is now going back to Quito to oversee management of the crisis, Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo said in a press conference.

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The government ended subsidies on gasoline and diesel last week, in a move that was welcomed by the International Monetary Fund because it helps cut the budget deficit, but which triggered nationwide unrest. Protesters have occupied government buildings and oil fields as security forces struggled to enforce a state of emergency.

Romo also said Wednesday that Quito is the city with the greatest risk of disturbances. A group of mainly indigenous protesters marched demanding a return of fuel subsidies, while another much smaller group supporting Moreno’s economic reforms is holding an opposing rally.

ECUADOR protest GETTY Sub

Demonstrators fire a home-made mortar during clashes with police in Quito on Oct. 9.

Photographer: Martin Bernetti/AFP via Getty Images

Large parts of the nation’s Andes region remain cut off by road blocks along mountain highways. The Ecuador Red Cross said Wednesday that it is suspending its services in the country after repeated attacks on its staff and ambulances.

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