Ecuador Declares State of Emergency

Ecuador declared a state of emergency on Tuesday after soldiers opened fire on protesters who occupied and shut down one of the country’s largest oil pipelines.

Local television showed pictures of troops firing their rifles at dozens of rock-hurdling protesters.

About 600 people are occupying the Sardinia pumping station in the Amazon province of Napo, about 55 miles east of Quito. According to police, hundreds of protesters were also outside the Baeza oil pumping station, which is owned by Petroecuador.

"The OCP (pipeline) suspended its operations after protesters invaded the station of Sardina," confirmed a spokesman for the company that operates the pipeline, which is owned by several Ecuadorian and foreign companies.

The people are demanding that the government fund social programs for their communities to build roads, bridges and a new airport—things that were promised under the previous administration.

Ecuadorian Defense Minister Oswaldo Jarrin suggested that the country might need a multinational force to come in to quell the conflict.