The vigorousness of this week’s protests in Quito, Ecuador, have forced the government to move from Quito to the coastal city of Guayaquil. Protestors are responding to the state’s neoliberal reforms which will target the poorest in the country.
The center of Quito has been filled with thousands of protesters for six days. Protests have included a huge faction of indigenous protestors, who will be particuarly impacted by the proposed reforms. Demonstrators fought off police with rocks and burning tires, and burned military vehicles, and indigenous groups blocked main access roads to the Plaza Grande. Truck and taxi drivers forced a partial shutdown of Quito’s airport. On Tuesday, October 8th, demonstrators broke the police siege and entered the National Assembly. Outside the Assembly, reports came that the military police are firing charges with real ammunition. Demonstrators have also forced their way into the comptroller general’s office.
The reforms are the result of a deal between financial institutions and the Ecuadorean government. In exchange for $4.2 billion, the IMF “proposed” to the Moreno administration a set of measures aimed at reducing the fiscal budget.
In addition to the contraction of public investments and the abolition of subsidies, the IMF policy package recommends reducing the number of public officials and increasing private participation in state-owned companies, among other neoliberal conventional policies.
Immediately after the reforms were announced Tuesday, social movements began to call for demonstrations.