"We don't have a state! We don't have any state!" The lady's voice projects through a loudspeaker amid the crowd. She's not having it. Nor is the groundswell of hundreds, if not thousands who've converged at Plaza Grande trolley stop, just meters from Simon Bolivar's statue at the entrance to Quito's historic center. They've come to express their disquiet over a fresh round of austerity measures declared by Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno last week, the backbreaker being the now-infamous fuel subsidy cut, as part of a $4.2 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan package.
"Diesel rose from $1.03 to $2.30 per gallon on Thursday [Oct. 3], while gasoline rose from $1.85 to $2.39," according to Reuters, which cited the government's own figures. Transport and food prices also skyrocketed. Other economic reforms affecting public-sector workers included cuts to wages by 20 percent, annual vacation time slashed in half, and a mandatory days-wage paid to state coffers each month.
Unable to bear the outlays, people amassed on the streets.