June 29, 2022

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Ecuador indigenous protests carry on despite small concession

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QUITO — Ecuador’s government on Thursday acquiesced to a demand of indigenous demonstrators who have held 11 days of protests, giving them access to a cultural center, but violent confrontations at marches continued.

Disquiet over prices for fuel, food and other basics has exploded into sometimes-violent protests across the country since June 13, prompting President Guillermo Lasso to declare a state of exception across six provinces, including that of Quito, the capital.

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The demonstrations – longer-lasting and larger than marches over fuel prices in October last year – are testing Lasso’s ability to restart the economy and kick-start employment.

Lasso has an adversarial relationship with the national assembly, whose lawmakers have blocked his proposals, and he has struggled to contain rising violence he blames on drug gangs.

On Thursday afternoon the government allowed thousands of marchers into the headquarters of a major cultural organization and pulled back security forces there. In exchange they asked for people and goods like food and medicines to be allowed to circulate freely.

“It isn’t possible to lift the state of exception,” Government Minister Francisco Jimenez told local radio early on Thursday, referring to another protester demand.

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The government is complying with other requests of the protesters, he said, including subsidized fertilizers, forgiving bank debts, and increasing budgets for health and education.

“We didn’t come here for people to…


2022-06-23 20:11:26

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