Ecuador authorities vow to regain control of prisons amid wave of violence Published duration 28 January 2017
image copyright Reuters image caption A prison official stands guard at Ayora prison, one of the sites of recent outbreaks of violence
Authorities in Ecuador have pledged to restore order in prisons as rioting in some prisons continued to mar a year of democracy.
The unrest at Ayora prison near Quito erupted into a riot that left one guard wounded and led to clashes with inmates.
Dozens of cells are believed empty or damaged, with some reports of prison staff having been attacked.
Ecuador’s new President Lenin Moreno, who took office on 4 January, told reporters he had taken control of the situation.
The government is taking steps to create a plan to bring security back to prisons, he added.
Mr Moreno, who won the first round of May’s presidential elections, was elected in a landslide more than a year after he first became governor of the country’s southern border province, and during which anti-government protests have been frequent.
image copyright Reuters image caption The Ecuadorean capital Quito has been transformed by massive protests since he became governor
image copyright Reuters image caption Protesters gathered at Quito’s Plaza de Bolivar in April
At the weekend, Mr Moreno said: “The worst is over and I will not let the situation spiral even further because that is something that needs to be eliminated.
“I want to say that our political will is not only a reflection of our good will and the desire to act.
“It is also our responsibility to create an environment where we live together with order and in a fair manner,” he continued, as pictures of rioting prisoners showed him.
image copyright Reuters image caption The unrest at Ayora was the latest development in a series of protests in recent years
The US State Department said it was “deeply concerned about the worsening security situation in Ecuador” and that it was “working to identify actions that could help restore democracy”.
In a video statement, the secretary-general of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, said his organisation “has been receiving regular reports