President Guillermo Lasso of Ecuador proclaimed a 60-day state of emergency in three of the country’s 24 provinces on Friday, claiming an increase in crime. The state of emergency includes curfews in some regions and the deployment of thousands of security troops.
It’s the second time Lasso has invoked emergency powers to quell the unrest that has erupted in the Andean country since late last year. His administration accuses drug trafficking gangs of using the nation as a transit place for drugs headed for the United States and Europe.
The Constitutional Court criticized a state of emergency declared by Lasso in October, halving the emergency length to 30 days and said that the military should only support police operations.
In the provinces of Guayas, Manabi, and Esmeraldas, where police operations have netted accused gang members, violent fatalities and crimes reportedly related to drug trafficking have increased this year.
In a video broadcast on his social media, Lasso said, “Through an executive decree, I have proclaimed a state of emergency in the provinces of Guayas, Manabi, and Esmeraldas, starting from midnight today.” “Every choice we make, in every part of our land, we preserve life until all those who are violent have surrendered.”
During the 60 days, 9,000 police and military officers will patrol provincial streets, and specific districts will be subject to curfews from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.