Eighth day of indigenous fuel price protests in Ecuador

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Thousands of Indigenous people and members of other disgruntled groups marched into Ecuador’s capital on the eighth day of fuel price protests Monday, accused by the president of seeking only “chaos” and his removal. President Guillermo Lasso extended a state of emergency to cover six provinces, with a nighttime curfew in Quito, as he seeks to curtail demonstrations that have seen roads barricaded countrywide, cost the economy tens of millions of dollars and left dozens of people injured. “With this decision, the welfare of citizens is safeguarded in the face of violence. At the same time, the rights of those who demonstrate peacefully are protected,” the government said.

On foot, on motorcycles and in crowded trucks, the Indigenous protesters began a peaceful march towards the city center from Cutuglagua, an area in southern Quito where they have been steadily growing in number since Sunday. A hundred Indigenous people also entered the city from the north. The powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie) — credited with helping topple three presidents between 1997 and 2005 — called the protest as Ecuadorans increasingly struggle to make ends meet. Indigenous people comprise more than a million of Ecuador’s 17.7 million inhabitants, and their protest has since been joined by students, workers and others feeling the economic pinch. “We have reached out, we have called for dialogue, but they do not want peace,” Lasso, a former banker in power since May 2021, said in a video on Twitter Monday. “They seek chaos. They want to eject the president.” At least some in Monday’s crowd — a number of whom waved Ecuadorian flags, wielded sticks or carried their children in their arms — said the president’s ouster was precisely what they sought.—AFP