Oct. 8 (UPI) — Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno announced Tuesday he moved the government capital to the city of Guayaquil amid protests over the end of fuel subsidies in Quito.
Moreno condemned the protests in a televised address, declaring that “violence and chaos will not defeat democracy” after protesters made their way into the comptroller general’s office on Monday.
“This is not a protest of social dissatisfaction faced with a government decision but the looting, vandalism and violence show there is an organized political motive to destabilize the government,” he said.
Ecuador’s Ministry of Energy also announced Tuesday that the country’s state-owned oil producer, Petroamazonas, suspended operations of its oil fields saying groups “violently entered” them Monday.
The protests came after Moreno lifted diesel subsidies last week as part of a $ 4.2 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund.
Gas prices more than doubled after the subsidies were eliminated, prompting backlash from transportation workers and indigenous groups.
More than 570 people have been detained due to the protests, two dozen police officers have also been injured and a man died after being hit by a car, the government said.