The 60-day national state of emergency has entered into force in Ecuador.
The measure was announced Monday evening by President Guillermo Lasso in response to a wave of violent crime.
Guillermo Lasso said that the police and the armed forces are mobilizing and their presence will be felt “by force” in the streets.
Official figures suggest that the number of homicides in the first eight months of this year is double that of the same period last year.
Speaking in a televised speech, President Lasso said that under the emergency measures, the military and police will carry out “gun checks, inspections, round-the-clock patrols and drug searches, among other actions.”
The measure was introduced weeks after a brawl in the port city of Guayaquil resulted in the deaths of 119 inmates.
Analysts said the prison killings were likely ordered from outside the prison, mirroring a power struggle between Mexican drug cartels currently underway in Ecuador.
They added that the deadly confrontation had highlighted the growing influence in Ecuador of Mexican criminal organizations, which operate in the Andean country through local gangs.
Ecuador is a transit country for cocaine smuggled from neighboring Peru and Colombia, and much of the crime spree is thought to be drug-related.
“There is only one enemy on the streets of Ecuador and that is drug trafficking,” President Lasso said Monday.
He added that over 70% of violent crimes in Guayas province, where the country’s most populous city, Guayaquil, is located were related to drug trafficking.
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