Ecuador protests flare up on the streets

Protests erupted on the streets in various parts of Ecuador on Monday (May 25) standing against drastic economic measures from President Lenin Moreno.

Despite a strict lockdown, rallies poured onto the street in the capital Quito, shouting for the President to resign, and angry face-offs with police - erupted into violent clashes.

Moreno's new measures will try to slash public spending in part by shortening the working day and cutting state workers' wages.

It's a response to Ecuador's latest debt crisis.

The country is grappling with one of Latin America's worst coronavirus outbreaks and the collapse of world oil prices.

That's all dented state revenues by $8 billion dollars.

But Moreno's measures pushed social groups to march.

Mesias Tatamuez is the head of the United Workers Front, Ecuador's largest trade union: (Frente Unitario de Trabajadores):

"And now, with this law of inhumanity - what we call the law of slavery - all workers return to being pawns, slaves."

Moreno's measures will also set fuel prices to try and roll back state subsidy payouts.

And the government will also renegotiate its debt load -- in March its total public debt was more than half of its GDP.

Ecuador has over 37,000 cases of coronavirus, although the number is suspected to be much higher due to underreporting.

Video Transcript

[CROWD CHANTING]

- Protests erupted on the streets in various parts of Ecuador on Monday, standing against drastic economic measures from president Lenin Moreno. Despite a strict lockdown, rallies poured onto the street in the capital Quito, shouting for the president to resign, and angry face-offs with police erupted into violent clashes. Moreno's new measures will try to slash public spending in part by shortening the working day and cutting state workers' wages.

It's a response to Ecuador's latest debt crisis. The country is grappling with one of Latin America's worst coronavirus outbreaks and the collapse of world oil prices. That's all dented state revenues by $8 billion. But Moreno's measures push social groups to March. Mesias Tatamuez is the head of the United Workers Front, Ecuador's largest trade union.

MESIAS TATAMUEZ: [SPEAKING SPANISH]

INTERPRETER: And now, with this law of inhumanity-- what we call the law of slavery-- all workers return to being pawns, slaves.

- Moreno's measures will also set fuel prices to try and rollback state subsidy payouts. And the government will also renegotiate its debt load. In March, its total public debt was more than half of its GDP. Ecuador has over 37,000 cases of coronavirus, although the number is expected to be much higher due to underreporting.