Demonstrations in Ecuador continue, protesters outline their demands

Thousands of indigenous protesters held a peaceful march through Ecuador’s capital Quito, carrying Ecuadorian flags and chanting anti-government slogans, on Wednesday demanding that the country’s President, Guillermo Lasso, address price rises that have ignited 10 days of demonstrations across the country.

The rising costs of fuel, food and other basics have resulted in sometimes-violent protests in several cities, led largely by major indigenous groups who travelled to Quito to protest.

Demands of protesters

Indigenous groups are demanding a fuel price cut, a halt to expanding oil and mining, and more time for farmer loan re-payments, but have conditioned dialogue on several concessions, including the removal of police from certain areas of Quito so indigenous leaders can meet.

Indigenous group CONAIE said on Wednesday afternoon it had sent a letter to Lasso outlining those terms.

“We've always had our door open to dialogue, we've only said that talks can’t make a mockery of the Ecuadorian people,” CONAIE President Leonidas Iza told protesters in a video the organisation posted on Twitter.

Peaceful protests turn violent

Despite the peaceful afternoon march, the headquarters of the attorney general's office in Quito was attacked for the second day in a row. However, indigenous groups denied any involvement.

Demonstrations, led primarily by CONAIE, began last week with peaceful roadblocks, but levels of violence have escalated in some areas, prompting the country’s president to decree a state of exception in six provinces.

Violent clashes between soldiers and demonstrators armed with guns, spears and explosives took place Tuesday night in Puyo, a city near the Amazon river.

On Wednesday, police commander Fausto Salinas said two officers who had been held by protesters in Puyo had been released and were in good health. One protester named by an indigenous group as Byron Guatatoca died overnight amid the incidents in Puyo.

The protester was killed after being struck in the head by a police tear gas canister, according to human rights groups. The attorney general’s office said it would investigate. Nationwide, 114 police officers have been injured and 104 people detained, the police said.

Another protester was killed last week after falling into a ravine, and the health ministry has said two people have died in ambulances delayed by road blockades.