Thousands of demonstrators have rallied against the administration of President Rafael Correa, demanding he step down. The South American country has witnessed unrest in recent weeks after Correa proposed new tax laws.
Thousands of Ecuadoreans took to the streets of Ecuador's largest city Guayaquil and the capital Quito on Thursday to protest against President Rafael Correa's administration.
The protesters, led by Guayaquil's Mayor Jaime Nebot, chanted against the president's leftist policies and demanded Correa step down.
"They say that prosperity, the right to prosper, deserves punishment," Nebot said referring to Correa's populist government.
"This country isn't ever going to accept that, because that is not Ecuador, that is Venezuela," the mayor added while addressing protesters in Guayaquil.
Opposition protests have been staged for more than two weeks following the announcement of a two laws proposed by Correa's administration, one of which would tax inheritances up to 75 percent.
Nebot, an opposition figure, has been critical of Correa's "socialist" policies.
The mayor said the government had "no credibility to convene dialogue at this point," in reference to Correa's proposal for national dialogue after he withdrew the controversial tax proposal.
Earlier Thursday, in the coastal province of Manabi, Correa responded to the demonstrations by stating their promoters were not defending citizens.
"As always, they are defending their pockets, their heritage, their concentration of power," he told supporters in Manabi, at a gathering of the province's officials.
"It's not that we're against the rich, we're for the poor," he said, adding that he was looking forward to meeting the opposition at the polls in 2017, when his term ends.
A counter-protest in support of Correa was also held in the capital city of Quito, where thousands filled the main square.
According to a tweet from Correa, the counter-protest was a response to plans by the opposition to stage a march in front of the Carondelet palace where the president resides.
ls/msh (AP, dpa, EFE)