Published: Mon, October 14, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

At least one killed in unrest in Ecuador during national strike - ombudsman

At least one killed in unrest in Ecuador during national strike - ombudsman

The eight police officers held by the protesters were forced onto a stage and made to remove their helmets, bullet-proof vests and boots.

(AP Photo/Fernando Vergara). A anti-government protester stands on scaffolding waving an Ecuadorean national flag at the Casa de la Cultura, in remembrance of companions who they say died during yesterday's national strike, in Quito, Ecuador, Thursday, .

Videos posted on social media as night fell show tear gas launched by law-enforcement officers at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, which was declared a zone of peace.

Protests have disrupted Ecuador's crude output and fuel delivery, leading to a shortage of gasoline in some areas. It was the first such action imposed since a series of coups in the 1960s and '70s.

Moreno has refused to repeal the subsidy cut and said he would not step down. The country is broke and backing down to protesters would be a defeat for the president's effort to undo the policies of his predecessor and former mentor, Rafael Correa. "The process is moving forward and I hope to give you good news soon, because different organizations and sectors have confirmed their willingness to talk".

Several have died in the violence, the BBC report noted.

Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo said that 17 people were arrested at the airport in Quito early on Thursday, most of whom she said were Venezuelan. "What we saw today we haven't seen before".

Following hours of chaos, Moreno appeared on national television alongside his vice president and defense minister to announce that he was ordering people indoors and the army onto the streets.

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FILE - First parts of a Russian S-400 missile defense system are unloaded from a Russian plane near Ankara, Turkey, July 12, 2019.


The elimination of fuel subsidies is part of a package of austerity measures created to reduce the public deficit in keeping with the terms of a 4.2-billion-U.S. -dollar loan agreement the government had signed with the International Monetary Fund. Public transit fares have also gone up.

The violence and military deployment closely followed the announcement of a possible softening of Ecuador's 10-day standoff.

But despite the president's optimism, indigenous leader Salvador Quishpe said the "demonstration is ongoing, it has not ended". Correa is dismissing as "nonsense" allegations that he is plotting with Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro to destabilize the current Ecuador government amid violent unrest sparked by fuel price hikes.

They are evicted and Moreno orders an overnight curfew to protect public buildings.

"There's a lot of uncertainty about what might happen" in Ecuador, said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a US -based research group. "They never do", she said.

Additionally, more than 570 people have been detained, according to official sources.

"We're going to radicalise with more force, my friends", said Vargas, before sending a direct message to the president: "Don't play with indigenous people". Describing himself as a victim of "political persecution", he said he has been charged with a total of 29 offenses.

Castillo, wearing a traditional bowler hat and layered skirt, said Moreno's decision to end a four-decade subsidy on fuel had already started to push up prices on a wide range of products. Panic and speculation sent prices soaring, with costs of some products - papayas, rural bus fares - doubling or more.

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