Ecuador: Venezuelan migrants block border bridge in protest over new visa rules

Hundreds of migrants from Venezuela staged a protest over new visa rules at the Rumichaca International Bridge into Ecuador on Sunday.

“We are here because we decided to close it [the bridge], and we have no plans to leave, because what else can we do? We cannot go back to Venezuela, we have nothing left there, we are starving to death, and we have no medicine,” Raimer Lugo a Venezuelan protester.

Reportedly, the protesters blocked the border crossing for seven hours, closing the main entrance to Ecuador from Colombia. Police eventually arrived on the scene and forcibly removed the protesters.

Ecuador declared a state of emergency in three of its regions earlier in August after an increase in migrant numbers and announced new regulations requiring any migrant from Venezuela to posses a valid visa before entry. The move prompted some 85,000 migrants to make the crossing from Colombia before the new rules took effect on August 26.

Reportedly, around 1.4 million Venezuelans migrants are based in Colombia, some of which have fled the ongoing political and economic crises in their country.