Last updated: 05:58 PM ET, Sat June 13 2015

Galapagos Islands Protests Disrupt Tourism

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | June 13, 2015

Galapagos Islands Protests Disrupt Tourism

Photo via Twitter

Protestors, soldiers, and tear gas replaced throngs of tourists on the two main Galapagos Islands Friday, according to the Associated Press.

Flights to the islands, made famous by naturalist Charles Darwin, were canceled as hundreds of residents participated in a 9-hour strike. They were demonstrating against money-saving legislation by the Ecuadorean government, which will discontinue subsidies that islanders say, according ABC News, are a necessity due to high living costs.

Ecuadorean soldiers used fire tear gas to clear the roads of the protestors.

The subsidy law, on the books since 1978, was overturned in Ecuador’s National Assembly Tuesday. With the subsidies, public employees were doubling their salaries, and private workers were receiving 75 percent in addition to their wages.

The 25,000 Galapagos residents will also lose the right to fly to the Ecuadorean mainland, 600 miles distant, free of charge.

Daniela Cox, a proud third-generation Galapagos resident posted a defiant message on her Facebook page, which was reposted by SOS Galapagos community organization.

In Spanish, she details the Ecuadorean government repression, and acknowledges its complexity — the subsidy cuts are just the latest beef the islands have with the government. Regarding the singular environment that draws tourists to the area, Cox calls it “a fragile area of the planet,” and reiterates “our commitment to ensure conservation for all mankind.”

Tourists who have booked a flight to the Galapagos from the mainland, check with your carrier regarding delays or cancellations. 

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