News ID: 322555
Published: 0244 GMT June 26, 2022

Ecuador gov’t, Indigenous leaders hold first talks amid protests

Ecuador gov’t, Indigenous leaders hold first talks amid protests

Ecuadorian demonstrators rally to show their support for the recent protests against the government near the National Assembly in Quito, Ecuador, on June 25, 2022.

Ecuador's government and Indigenous leaders met on Saturday for the first formal talks since mass protests began two weeks ago, and President Guillermo Lasso eased security measures.

The demonstrations, which broke out on June 13 fueled by Indigenous calls for lower fuel and food prices, among other demands, have led to at least six civilian deaths and multiple attacks on security forces, according to Reuters.

The protests have worsened Lasso's adversarial relationship with the Ecuador’s National Assembly, where lawmakers have blocked his major economic proposals as he has struggled to contain rising violence he blames on drug gangs.

The assembly on Saturday evening was set to meet to debate Lasso's removal from office at the request of some opposition lawmakers, though the group does not appear to have the votes it would need to approve such a measure.

After the talks on Saturday, Lasso ended a state of exception in six provinces, as requested by Indigenous leaders.

"The government reiterated its willingness to guarantee the creation of spaces for peace," Lasso's press office said in a statement.

The government's legal representative Fabian Pozo told the National Assembly the country was gradually returning to normal and the government had listened to the protesters legitimate demands.

This week the government also announced subsidized fertilizers, debt forgiveness and budget increases for health and education, but formal talks between the administration and protesters, led by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), had been stalled for days even as confrontations at marches continued.

CONAIE leader Leonidas Iza and several government ministers attended the talks, Saquicela added.

Iza said Indigenous groups would partially open roads blocked during protests to allow food into the capital, where residents have complained of low supplies, but would remain in the capital Quito until they get a satisfactory answer from Lasso.






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