Thursday, October 4th, large scale protests erupted in major cities across Ecuador. The protesters were predominantly people employed in the transportation sector who are upset that President Moreno has moved forward with rollbacks on subsidies for fuel. Without the 1.3 million dollar subsidy fuel prices will soar, angering protesters as most employees in the public transportation industry must pay for their own gas. Demonstrators blocked roads, including the main road to Quito International Airport causing massive flight delays and cancellations. Intense clashes on the streets between demonstrators and the police led to Moreno declaring a national state of emergency, allowing Ecuador’s armed forces the ability to dismantle the blockades on the street. Some roads remained blocked Friday, October 5th, when unions, indigenous rights activists, and students worked to re-shut down the road.
Protests have now continued for a week moving largely to protests against austerity with the majority of protesters being indigenous actors. The military has advised protesters to discontinue violent tactics, especially after President Moreno temporarily moved the government’s base from Quito to Guayaquil, though many of the protests in the country have remained largely peaceful. The government is in discussion with indigenous groups; however, progress is slow according to Moreno due to the sheer amount of indigenous groups. Further exacerbating the problem, economic activity in the country has stalled in response to looting, disruptions from protests, and indigenous protesters forcing the main oil pipeline in the country to shut down. Following two weeks of protests President Moreno and the indigenous group leaders were able to come to an agreement ending the violence.