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News > Latin America

President Lasso Declares State of Emergency in Ecuador

  • Ecuadorian Armed Forces during a prison operative, Guayaquil, Sept. 2021.

    Ecuadorian Armed Forces during a prison operative, Guayaquil, Sept. 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @nytimes

Published 19 October 2021

He urged armed forces and policemen to act with strength and promised to pardon anyone "wrongly convicted."

On Monday, Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso announced a 60-days State of Emergency, which will allow the Army to directly patrol the streets throughout the country. This decision occurs amid massive protests against the increase in fuel prices.


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According to Lasso, however, the main objective of this policy will be to dismantle drug trafficking groups and mobs responsible for an increase in violence. The State of Emergency gives authorities the power to restrict freedom of movement, assembly and association.

Besides asking the judges to prioritize "law enforcement and order, not impunity and crime," Lasso will create a legal unit to protect the police and military from the trials that their actions may cause.

"The law must deter the criminal, not the police," Lasso said and urged "the police and armed forces to act with courage and strength, for my administration will pardon everyone wrongly convicted for doing their job."

Soon after the address, the Ombudsman's Office requested military command and law enforcement agents to respect the people's rights to life, security, and integrity, for it fears that the fight against crime could put regular people's lives at risk of abuses of power. The Ombudsman's Office also publicly rejected Guayaquil Mayor's proposal of allowing citizens to carry weapons for their defense.

The Lasso administration has been affected by public opinion views of an increase in violence. Violent murders have almost doubled this year reaching 1,884 so far. In Sep., there was a prison mass mutiny that ended with 118 deaths and lasted 10 days.

Farmers and teachers are currently protesting against the govertnment. It is unknown they will react to the State of Emergency.

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