Ecuador’s president has declared a national emergency as protests rage nationwide over his decision to end diesel and gasoline subsidies. President Lenín Moreno’s austerity measures met a key demand of the International Monetary Fund as part of a $4.2 billion deal agreed to in February. On Thursday, protesters spilled into the streets of Quito and other cities as the cost of energy rose dramatically. Police fired tear gas to clear protesters who set up barricades. One of the demonstrators, Julio César, said President Moreno and other elites should pay to maintain fuel subsidies.
Julio César: “They should be paying for these measures, for this economic crisis. The people are mired in misery. A people who are hungry are a people who fight on.”
On Thursday, transit unions declared a nationwide strike to protest the fuel price hikes, ending bus routes, making taxis unavailable and closing roads across Ecuador.