Kuala Lumpur Post


Hundreds protest against fuel price hikes in Ecuador

QUITO — Hundreds of workers, teachers and students protested in Ecuador’s capital on Thursday against fuel price rises ordered by President Daniel Noboa in a bid to save government money spent on subsidies.

Chanting “Out, Noboa, out!” and holding signs reading “Gasoline goes up, everything goes up,” the demonstrators marched to the presidential headquarters in Quito, which was guarded by police and military personnel.

In June, Ecuador’s government announced a nearly 11% hike in fuel prices from the end of the month – a risky move in a country where previous such steps were met with violent protests.

The Unitary Workers Front, which organised the rally, called for the repeal of the price hike, which its leader Jose Villavicencio told AFP would cause an “increase in (prices of) basic products.”

Some protesters burned tires and life-size photos of Noboa. Police reported no arrests, though AFP saw officers use tear gas to disperse a group.

The government says the increase in prices will help it save US$644 million in fuel subsidies, with that money used to finance a fight against drug trafficking and organised crime.

Noboa has said he expects to raise another US$1.3 billion annually with a VAT increase from 12% to 15% next year. — AFP