By Lokman Ilhan
BOGOTA (AA) – At least 350 people have been arrested in Ecuador amid protests over the government’s decision to scrap decades-old fuel subsidies as part of a reform package.
At a press conference in the capital Quito, Ecuadorian Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo said 159 of the 350 were arrested in the port city of Guayaquil.
Romo said Jorge Calderon, president of the Federation of Taxi Drivers of Ecuador, and two members of transport unions were among those arrested.
A nationwide strike by transport workers and taxi drivers against the elimination of the subsidies led to protests and violence.
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno declared a two-month state of emergency Thursday and said his Cabinet is determined not to change the decision on "those perverse subsidies that were damaging the country."
Ecuador, a country straddling the equator on South America’s west coast, has seen numerous street protests in the past which forced the resignation of three presidents.