One dead during protests in Ecuador against rising prices

Revolt is brewing in Ecuador. It even turned tragic on Tuesday. On the ninth day of mobilization against rising fuel prices, thousands of indigenous people demonstrated and clashed with the police, one of whom was killed.

It was in the north of Quito that some of the most violent clashes took place with the security forces who used tear gas, water cannons, motorized vehicles and mounted police. But it was in the locality of Puyo, south of the capital, that a Quechua native was killed on Tuesday. “There was a confrontation and this person was hit in the face, apparently by a tear gas canister,” said lawyer Lina María Espinosa, from the Alliance of Human Rights Organizations.

Employment in Claims

The powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), which participated in the revolts that overthrew three presidents between 1997 and 2005 and led the violent demonstrations of 2019 (11 dead), has been organizing marches and barricades since June 13 to demand a lower fuel prices. Thousands of indigenous people began a peaceful march towards central Quito from the south on Monday. Several hundred also arrived from the north in the capital of three million inhabitants.

In addition to the price of fuel, the demonstrators denounce the lack of jobs, the granting of mining concessions in the indigenous territories, the absence of control of the prices of agricultural products and a renegotiation of the debts of the peasants with the banks.

Parliament demands dialogue

In Parliament, the deputies approved Monday evening by 81 votes out of 137 votes a resolution demanding a government proposal for “serious, clear and honest” dialogue and calling for a round table including the UN, the Red Cross, universities and the Catholic Church to seek solutions to the crisis. Indigenous peoples make up at least one million of the 17.7 million Ecuadorians.

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“We reached out, we called for dialogue, but they don’t want peace, they seek chaos, they want to oust the president,” President Guillermo Lasso charged on Monday with a video showing images of protesters giving themselves up. to street violence. Later, he extended the state of emergency from 3 to 6 of the country’s 24 provinces. Sixty-three police officers have been injured since the protests began, according to an official report, while a local human rights organization reported 79 arrests and 55 civilians injured.

For nearly a year, the price of a gallon of diesel has increased by 90% (to $1.90) and that of gasoline by 46% (to $2.55). Prices have been frozen since October, after previous protests, but Conaie is asking for a drop to $1.50 and $2.10 respectively. The economy is losing around $50 million a day due to the protests, according to official figures.

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