President Guillermo Lasso Friday decreed a state of emergency for two months in three of Ecuador's provinces where the crime rate has reached historic levels, it was announced.
I have declared a state of exception in the provinces of Guayas, Manabi, and Esmeraldas, effective from midnight tonight, the head of state said in a speech broadcast on state-run media.
With the curfew in force from 11 pm to 5 am, it will not be possible to circulate for 6 hours in 4 parishes of the provinces of Esmeraldas and Guayas, in a move to curb violence linked to drug trafficking. Executive Decree No. 411 specified the curfew or traffic restriction from 23:00 to 05:00 in the parishes of Esmeraldas in the province of Esmeraldas; Eloy Alfaro (Duran canton), Ximena, Pascuales (Guayaquil canton) in the province of Guayas.
People who circulate during the curfew hours will be taken before judicial authorities unless they are performing at least one of the activities listed as exceptional, such as healthcare providers, security officers, emergency first responders, lawyers and court clerks in the exercise of their profession or position, civil servants, workers in the logistics chain of the export sector, travelers with flights operating during curfew hours, reporters and news crews and any other person deemed worthy of an exception by the Ministry of the Interior.
The decree provides that national and municipal transit authorities are to exercise their powers to control the circulation of vehicles during curfew hours.
Under the state of emergency, some 4,000 police officers and 5,000 military troops are to be deployed to the areas included in the measure.
Drug trafficking in Ecuador has led to an increase in crime, which has left 1,255 people dead since the start of the year, according to official figures. About 440 crimes have occurred in Guayaquil, the country's commercial center and the provincial capital of Guayas, and Duran. Since February 2021, there have also been several massacres in Ecuador's prisons involving members of rival drug gangs, with over 350 inmates dead.