Ecuador’s president calls for dialogue with indigenous protesters News of the protest

Dozens of people have been arrested during protests and blockades of highways in protest of rising fuel prices.

Indigenous and rural Ecuadorians have blocked roads in several provinces on the second day of protests against rising fuel prices amid a state of emergency calling for a presidential dialogue.

Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso, a conservative former banker who took office in May, said Wednesday that his government would keep security forces on highways to maintain order.

Last Friday, Lasso announced a 12 percent increase in fuel prices, nearly double last year, bringing the price of diesel to $ 1.90 per gallon ($ 0.50 per liter) and petrol to $ 2.55 per gallon ($ 0.67), the largest since he took office. Demonstration.

“I once again call for dialogue, for consensus, for the good of the country and not for the interests of individuals, parties or unions,” Lasso said at a military event on Wednesday. “In this moment of economic recovery, it’s time to unite.”

Protesters argue that the increased costs fall on regular citizens who are already struggling economically due to the Kovid-19 epidemic.

The Ecuadorian Confederation of Indigenous Nations (CONAIE), the party that called the protest, wants fuel prices to be $ 1.50 per gallon ($ 0.39 per liter) for diesel and $ 2 per gallon ($ 0.53 liter) for petrol.

“The government has made a mess, fuel prices are rising all the time,” Dennis Viteri, a 28-year-old textile worker, told AFP on Wednesday during a blockade northeast of the capital, Quito.

Viteri and others used soil, tree trunks and burning tires to block a section of the Pan-American Highway connecting Quito with Colombia.

At least five of Ecuador’s 24 provinces have been blocked by protesters.

Reducing energy subsidies, which began under former President Lenin Moreno, is a way to reduce spending for Ecuador in exchange for loans from the International Monetary Fund.

But poverty now affects about 47 percent of Ecuador and about one-third do not have a full-time job.

At least eight police officers were injured during the protests on Tuesday and 37 people were arrested for blocking the road, the government said.

Protest organizers said protesters were also injured but did not give a figure.

The world’s two largest cocaine producers: Lasso declared a 60-day state of emergency last week to tackle growing crime and violence responsible for the conflict between drug traffickers in countries located between Colombia and Peru.

The state of emergency, ordered after the January clashes that killed about 240 gang-linked inmates, allowed troops to be deployed to help fight the tide of crime.

No restrictions were imposed on rallies or demonstrations.

On top of Ecuador’s many challenges, Lasso has faced a parliamentary investigation into the publication of Pandora Papers alleging that he hid millions of assets abroad.

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