Violent protests in Ecuador force government to move

  • Violent protests in Ecuador force government to move

Violent protests in Ecuador force government to move

The group of demonstrators waved flags, chanted slogans and pumped fists in the air, before being moved out by police, in the most audacious of almost a week of protests against President Lenin Moreno's government.

Elsewhere in Quito and other flashpoints, masked and stick-wielding protesters hurled stones and battled with security forces, who responded with tear gas.

In the Amazon region, demonstrators entered facilities of the Sacha oilfield, prompting authorities to shut down production there and causing the loss of 70,000 of Ecuador's 550,000 barrel-a-day oil output.

Maduro, who has presided over an economic implosion and political crisis in Venezuela, denied on Tuesday that he had helped foment the protests and said Ecuador was rejecting the IMF's "savage capitalist model".

He added that government business had temporarily moved to the port city of Guayaquil.

In a tweet, Juan Guiado, Venezuela's self-proclaimed interim leader, accused a "group financed by (Nicolas) Maduro's accomplices" of fuelling unrest, echoing conspiracy accusations against Guiado's socialist rival for the Venezuelan presidency made by Moreno.

Ecuador's government sought foreign mediation via the United Nations or the Catholic Church on Tuesday, after nearly a week of anti-austerity protests that have forced the government to move from the capital and brought hundreds of arrests.

The country has been rocked by days of demonstrations after increases of up to 120 percent in fuel prices came into force on October 3.

A demonstrator prepares to throw an object during a protest in Quito, Ecuador.

"As of now, 570 people have been detained for damaging public and private property, blocking traffic or committing unjustified violent acts against other people", Roldan said.

The US, "is monitoring recent developments in Ecuador carefully".

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, the country's largest Indigenous group, said Moreno failed to tackle the welfare of the country's "most vulnerable people".

A nationwide strike by transport workers and taxi drivers against the elimination of the subsidies by the government Tuesday, as part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to obtain loans, led to protests and violence.

On Sunday, the president had called for dialogue with the indigenous groups.

The unions later stopped their action, but protests have continued.

Moreno has been adamant about slashing debt to $1 billion by 2020.

In another part of Ecuador, police abandoned an armoured vehicle to protesters who set it on fire.

Moreno had enthusiastically backed Correa during his decade-long rule but broke with him after winning the 2017 election to succeed him, and moved economic policies to the right.

It allows the government to restrict movement, to use the armed forces to maintain order and to censor the press.