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Ecuador protesters are calling for talks to resume

#Ecuador #protesters #calling #talks #resume

Indigenous Ecuadorians marched in central Quito on Wednesday to demand the resumption of negotiations, which the government suspended for more than two weeks amid disruptive and often violent daily protests over rising costs of living.

Chanting: “We don’t want ten cents, we want results,” several hundred people demonstrated in the city center near the seat of government, which was cordoned off by the police, metal fences and barbed wire.

A protester wearing a traditional red poncho, leading a group of men with makeshift shields, addressed the rest via megaphone: “We will remain here until the President of the Republic resumes dialogue.”

He added, “If we have to sleep here … we will.”

Negotiations to end the protests that have rocked the South American country since June 13 were suspended Tuesday – into their second day – after the government blamed protesters for the death of a soldier.

An estimated 14,000 Ecuadorians – most of them in Quito – have taken part in a nationwide demonstration of dissatisfaction against mounting hardship in an economy that has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The protests were called by the powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), credited with impeaching three presidents between 1997 and 2005.

Indigenous people make up more than a million of the South American nation’s 17.7 million residents.

The protesters want fuel price cuts, jobs, food price controls and more public spending on health and education.

– Economic damage –

Over the weekend, President Guillermo Lasso announced concessions to get the talks going, including a ten cents per gallon cut in diesel and gasoline prices to $1.80 and $2.45 respectively.

The protesters are demanding a reduction to $1.50 for diesel and $2.10 for gasoline.

Lasso, hours before surviving an impeachment vote, on Tuesday accused Conaie leader Leonidas Iza of self-interested politics and vowed “we will not negotiate with those holding Ecuador hostage.”

This comes after the military said one soldier was killed and five police officers and seven soldiers injured in an attack by protesters on an escort tanker in the east of the country.

Five protesters were killed and hundreds injured on both sides in clashes between security forces and protesters who blocked roads and cut supply lines.

According to observers, about 150 people were arrested.

On Tuesday, the 16th day of the revolt, demonstrators set fire to two police stations in northern Quito.

The action was costly, with losses of about $50 million a day to the economy, according to the government, which has warned oil production – which has already been halved – could soon grind to a halt altogether.

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#Ecuador #protesters #calling #talks #resume

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