Security & Strategic Review - September 2023

ECUADOR: Gangs’ strength highlighted by coordinated prison uprisings

A wave of violence swept through Ecuador’s prison system after riots began on 22 July at the Penitenciaría del Litoral in Guayaquil, the largest prison in the country which has been the site of repeated massacres since 2020. The unrest then spread to other prisons around Ecuador, where prison guards and officials were held hostage and prisoners went on hunger strike. In response, President Guillermo Lasso declared a 60-day state of exception within the country’s prison system.

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