Tuesday, October 8, 2019

News Report: "Ecuador moves government out of capital as violent protests rage"

The Guardian reports:
      Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, has said he has moved his government from the capital in Quito to the coastal city of Guayaquil amid violent protests over the end of fuel subsidies.

      Images from Quito showed protesters hurling petrol bombs and stones, ransacking and vandalising public buildings as well as clashing with the police in running battles late into the night.

     “[This] is not a protest of social dissatisfaction faced with a government decision but the looting, vandalism and violence show there is an organised political motive to destabilise the government,” Moreno said in televised address on Monday, flanked by the vice-president, defence minister and military top brass.
      Rioters in Quito forced their way into the comptroller general’s office and vandalised the assembly building on Monday. It followed days of violence in which protesters burned military vehicles, destroyed dozens of rose farms, a dairy and an oil production facility. The outnumbered security forces have been unable to prevent much of the destruction.
It is not just fuel subsidies, although that seems the prime motivator for many of the protesters, but other austerity measures such as reductions in the state workforce and some privatizations. These austerity measures are being implemented as part of a $4.2 billion load deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The article indicates that many of the protesters are members of indigenous groups and that "[i]ndigenous-led protests brought down three presidents in the years before Correa’s rule."

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