Protests in the Ecuadorean capital, Quito, turned violent between protesters and the police. The Public Prosecutor’s Office was attacked and an attempt was made to occupy the home of the Minister of Culture. Police fired tear gas and confiscated petrol bombs, shields and spears.
Agence France-Presse reported that one person was killed in the protests.
Indigenous groups have been protesting and striking in the country for more than a week, in part due to high fuel prices. They also demand fair prices for agricultural products, a suspension of individual debts, less mining and oil extraction, more self-determination and money for education. They are creating a blockade that threatens to cause a major food shortage in Keto, among other things.
There is also a shortage of fuel in some places. Demonstrators entered the oil fields, causing business to stop.
An attack on democracy
Defense Minister Luis Lara warned on television that the army was watching developments with great interest. According to him, social protests are hijacked by malicious groups. “This is a deliberate attempt to harm democracy and democratic institutions.”
Footage from local media shows the damage to the prosecutor’s office. The officials are said to have used the police and the army. They allegedly transmitted sensitive information hastily to avoid jeopardizing judicial investigations.
A group of universities, the Catholic Church and representatives from the United Nations and the Organization of American States, among others, have called on the government and advocacy groups for indigenous groups to enter into discussions. So far, these consultations have not yet begun. One of the leaders of the protest movement said that the government should first withdraw the security forces.
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