(QUITO, Ecuador) — Residents of Ecuador’s capital ventured out into the streets Sunday despite a 24-hour military curfew, picking their way through piles of burnt tires, chunks of pavement and tree trunks smoldering after a day of violent protests across Quito.
The government and indigenous protesters planned to begin negotiations aimed at defusing more than a week of demonstrations against a plan to remove fuel subsidies as part of an International Monetary Fund austerity package. The protests have paralyzed Ecuador’s economy and cut off more than half of the country’s production of oil, Ecuador’s most important export.
The United Nations and Ecuadorian Bishops’ Conference said negotiations would begin at 3 p.m. local time (4 p.m. EDT) between President Lenín Moreno’s government and the Confederation of Indigenous Nations, which has brought thousands of indigenous protesters to the capital and organized protests across the country, from the Andes high sierra to the Amazon rainforest.
“We trust in the will of everyone to establish a dialogue in good faith and find a quick solution to the complex situation the country is living,” the U.N.’s Ecuador office said in a statement.
However, the protests have drawn in thousands of Ecuadorians from outside the indigenous minority and many said they would continue demonstrating despite the negotiations. On Sunday afternoon, hundreds of people defied the curfew and headed toward the main protest site, some carrying wooden poles. Police let them enter the park and surrounding area but searched people’s bags for potential weapons.
Michael Limaico, a 35-year-old unemployed sign-maker, stood on a corner in the Carcelen neighborhood near a line of burned tires that blocked one of the city main thoroughfares on Saturday. Limaico said that he and his wife had struggled for years to feed and house their three children, ages 9 to 15, with their earnings of about $600 a month from odd jobs around northern Quito.
Then, prices of food and other basic goods rose sharply after Moreno removed fuel subsidies on Oct. 2. Limaico said it had become impossible to make ends meet, and he had been protesting for days with neighbors who have blocked Diego de Vazquez Avenue as it passes through Carcelen.
“This isn’t a protest of thieves, of gangsters,” he said. “This is the people, and we’re fed up.”
Demonstrations in Quito took three distinct forms on Saturday, the most tumultuous in 10 days of protests against Moreno’s austerity measures. Thousands of indigenous people protested outside the …read more
Source:: Time – World