QUITO, Ecuador (NBC) – Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno declared a state of emergency Thursday after nationwide protests broke out over the end of decades-old fuel subsidies.
The fuel measure went into effect today and protesters set barricades on fire and threw rocks at riot police.
Officers responded by using tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Moreno, who won election in 2017 to replace Rafael Correa, told reporters the “perverse” fuel subsidy, in place for 40 years, had distorted the economy and protests would not be allowed to paralyze Ecuador.
The government wants to reduce the fiscal deficit from an estimated $3.6 billion this year to under $1 billion in 2020.