QUITO (Dow Jones)--Opponents of President Rafael Correa protested Thursday in Guayaquil, the Ecuador's largest city and financial center, answering a call from the city's mayor, Jaime Nebot.
TV stations showed images of tens of thousands massed in Guayaquil's main street, "Nueve de Octubre" Avenue. Guayaquil is a bastion of the country's conservative groups and Nebot is the most important figure of opposition for Correa.
Ecuadorian media said that between 200,000 and 250,000 marched against Correa.
Nebot called the protest against the amount of money assigned to the city by the central government this year.
The government allocated $175 million for Guayaquil's administration rather than the $192 million that should go to the city, according to law, Nebot has said.
The Correa Government has rejected Nebot's accusations.
Before the march, President Correa said that Ecuador lives "in a full democracy" and that 2010 will be "extraordinary" for the Andean country.
According local pollsters, the conservative Nebot enjoys around 80% support in Guayaquil.
In his speech during the march, Nebot called "to fight together until the end of the dictatorship" because in Ecuador "there is no democracy."
Nebot also said that Correa is trying to copy in Ecuador the "failed model" of the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.
President Rafael Correa began in January his fourth year in office, facing widespread discontent and protests against his policies.
Correa, a left-leaning economist, came to office early in 2007 with plans to shake up Ecuador's economy and political structure.
That has led to steady confrontations, and the president now faces a backlash from various quarters.
Initially, Correa started with a four-year term. After a constitutional change he was elected again last year and could now stay in office until 2017 if he wins re-election in 2013.
Still, Correa's high popularity levels are slipping. Pollster Cedatos-Gallup International said that Correa's approval level fell to 41% in January, from 73% soon after he took office in 2007.
Last month, Correa said opposition groups are conspiring against his government and attempting to destabilize it.