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Ecuador: Indigenous groups will not talk to the government until it withdraws the security forces

Ecuador: Indigenous groups will not talk to the government until it withdraws the security forces

Ecuadorian protesters who have staged more than a week of marches and roadblocks over President Guillermo Lasso’s economic policies will not meet with the government until it withdraws security forces from some areas of the capital, an indigenous leader said.

Thousands of protesters have marched in the Ecuadorian capital over the past week to demand concessions from Lasso. The demands include a cut in the price of fuel, a halt to the expansion of oil production and mining, more time for farmers to pay off debt and budget increases for health care.

The government has responded to the demands, but Leonidas Iza, leader of the indigenous group CONAIE, said on social media that the indigenous leaders were unable to meet to discuss them due to the presence of security forces in a park where many groups are concentrated.

“Our conditions suppose a willingness on the part of the National Government to reduce repressive actions, revoke the state of exception and demilitarize Parque Arbolito,” Iza said, referring to the special measures that Lasso extended to six provinces on Monday.

Two people have died during the demonstrations, Iza said, nearly 100 have been injured and seventy-nine have been arrested, according to indigenous accounts. Security forces and protesters clashed in the capital on Tuesday afternoon. Security forces fired tear gas and non-lethal projectiles, while indigenous groups responded with sticks.

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