Indigenous groups in Ecuador defy curfew to protest fuel price hikes | New


Indigenous groups continue to protest in most Ecuadorian provinces demanding lower fuel prices and economic reforms.

Indigenous groups in Ecuador have defied a state of emergency imposed in three provinces as they continue to protest the government’s economic policies amid rising inflation and unemployment.

Protesters demanding checks on fuel prices and cheaper food blocked roads on Saturday, in a sixth day of sometimes violent demonstrations.

Police said indigenous peoples continued to protest in most of the country’s 24 provinces, including Imbabura, Cotopaxi and Pichincha, where President Guillermo Lasso declared a state of emergency on Friday night.

Ecuador has been hit by rising inflation, unemployment and poverty exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Fuel prices have risen sharply since 2020, nearly doubling for diesel from $1 to $1.90 per gallon and rising from $1.75 to $2.55 for gasoline.

The anti-government protest launched by the country’s indigenous community – which numbers more than one million of Ecuador’s 17.7 million people – has been joined by students, workers and other groups.

Clashes with security forces left at least 83 injured and 40 arrested.

To assuage the anger, Lasso announced on Friday evening a small increase in a monthly subsidy paid to Ecuador’s poorest people, as well as a debt relief program for those with loans from public banks. .

But the movements failed to end the protests. “I called for dialogue and the response was more violence. There is no intention to look for solutions,” the president said on television.

Emergency state

The state of emergency gives him the power to mobilize the armed forces to maintain order, suspend civil rights and declare curfews.

The measure will last 30 days in Imbabura, Cotopaxi and Pichincha – areas that include the capital Quito – which have seen greater violence.

Indigenous activists on Saturday urged national lawmakers to step in to end the state of emergency, which they are constitutionally entitled to do.

The powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie) has been credited with helping to overthrow three Ecuadorian presidents between 1997 and 2005.

He said he would maintain the roadblocks until the government meets 10 demands, including reducing prices to $1.50 for diesel and $2.10 for gasoline, a demand that the government has so far rejected.

Its other demands include control of food prices and the renegotiation of personal bank loans for around four million families.


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