Pro­test­ers force Ecuador gov’t to flee cap­i­tal

The Korea Times - - WORLD -

QUITO (AP) — Thou­sands of in­dige­nous peo­ple, some car­ry­ing long sticks, con­verged on Ecuador’s cap­i­tal Tues­day as anti-govern­ment protests and clashes led the pres­i­dent to move his be­sieged ad­min­is­tra­tion out of Quito.

The South Amer­i­can coun­try of 17 mil­lion peo­ple ap­peared to be at a dan­ger­ous im­passe, par­a­lyzed by a lack of pub­lic trans­port and block­aded roads that were tak­ing a toll on an al­ready vul­ner­a­ble econ­omy.

Vi­o­lence has per­sisted since last week, when Pres­i­dent Lenin Moreno’s de­ci­sion to end sub­si­dies led to a sharp in­crease in fuel prices. Pro­test­ers seized some oil in­stal­la­tions and the state oil com­pany, Petroe­cuador, warned that pro­duc­tion losses could reach 165,000 bar­rels a day, or nearly one-third of to­tal pro­duc­tion, if in­se­cu­rity con­tin­ues.

The govern­ment de­clared an overnight cur­few around key state in­stal­la­tions and govern­ment build­ings as well as vi­tal in­fra­struc­ture such as air­ports and oil re­finer­ies.

Ear­lier Tues­day, pro­test­ers broke through po­lice bar­ri­ers and some en­tered the empty congress build­ing in Quito. Po­lice fired tear gas and forced them to re­treat.

In­dige­nous pro­test­ers oc­cu­pied two wa­ter treat­ment plants in the city of Am­bato, south of the cap­i­tal, rais­ing con­cern about sup­ply to res­i­dents, ac­cord­ing to mu­nic­i­pal author­i­ties.

On Mon­day night, hun­dreds of peo­ple ram­paged through the Du­ran area near the port city of Guayaquil, loot­ing phar­ma­cies, elec­tronic ap­pli­ance stores and other build­ings.

In an­other part of Ecuador, po­lice abandoned an ar­mored ve­hi­cle to pro­test­ers who set it on fire. In mul­ti­ple ar­eas, ri­ot­ers smashed car win­dows, broke into shops and con­fronted se­cu­rity forces.

Reuters-Yon­hap

Demon­stra­tors clash with po­lice of­fi­cers dur­ing a protest against Ecuador’s Pres­i­dent Lenin Moreno’s aus­ter­ity mea­sures in Quito, Ecuador, Tues­day.

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