Ecuador unrest: What led to the mass protests? (Al Jazeera)

QUITO, ECUADOR – Mass anti-government protests have paralysed Ecuadoran transportation and other services for more than a week.

Protesters are angry over President Lenin Moreno’s decision to cut decades-old fuel subsidies and implement tax and labour reforms.

“The people, united, will never be defeated,” demonstrators chanted as they briefly breached a security line and entered the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The protests have at times turned violent with police using tear gas, pepper spray and sound bombs on demonstrators, some of whom have responded by throwing rocks and Molotov bombs. At least five people have been killed and hundreds wounded. More than 700 people have also been arrested.

It is the worst unrest the country has seen in more than a decade.

As things continue to escalate in Ecuador, Al Jazeera takes a look at what prompted the protests and where they may be headed.

1. What prompted the protests, and when did they start?

Protests began on October 3 when President Lenin Moreno cut petrol subsidies that had been in place in the country for 40 years. The cuts saw the price of diesel more than double and petrol increase by 30 percent, overnight.

The government also released a series of labour and tax reforms as part of its belt-tightening measures it was forced to undertake when it agreed to a $4.2bn loan with the IMF.

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PHOTO CREDIT: AFP

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