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One death reported during clashes in protests in Quito, Ecuador

One death reported during clashes in protests in Quito, Ecuador

One man died and dozens of people were injured on Thursday, the 12th day of indigenous-led protests to demand that the government of President Guillermo Lasso implement various economic measures, including a reduction in the price of gasoline.

The demonstrations have become more violent in recent days and on Thursday led to clashes with the military and riot police in Quito and other cities in the Andean country, despite the call of the highest indigenous leader to avoid violence and outrage.

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (CONAIE) identified the deceased as Henry Quezada Espinoza, 40, who was part of the protests near the Assembly and who, according to the organization, died of pellet wounds to the chest and abdomen. .

The authorities recognized that there was a deceased and the Minister of the Interior, Patricio Carrillo, said that they were “dismayed”. Christian Rivera, a volunteer paramedic who treated Quezada at the site of the demonstrations, told The Associated that the man was “seriously injured by pellets” and that a hundred injured people had been treated at the site, including protesters, military and policemen. CONAIE later reported Quezada’s death.

It is not clear who would have fired the pellets. However, the Interior Minister assured that the government has not provided any pellet gun to police personnel and that on Thursday they were only carrying gases to disperse the protesters. He affirmed that in the vicinity of the Assembly, the police forces were received with shots from “carbines”.

Carillo added that an autopsy will be carried out on Quezada to determine the cause of death and that they will request the accompaniment of the Ombudsman’s Office. “You’re going to see that the police have no involvement,” he said.

This is the third death reported in the context of the protests, although Quezada would be the first death in the midst of clashes. The other two deaths occurred in recent days: a man who rolled down a ravine when apparently fleeing from a police fence and another who died in the town of Puyo, but the causes were not specified.

The clashes on Thursday occurred when indigenous people rushed towards the Assembly building in Quito during the afternoon, where they were repelled by the police and military.

Shortly before the incidents, the maximum indigenous leader, Leonidas Iza, had said that they would remain firm in resolving the 10 points they are demanding, but asked that they not be resort to violence.

On June 14, CONAIE began a national protest demanding a reduction in the price of gasoline from $2.55 to $2.10 a gallon, the fixing of prices by decree for agricultural products, and an increase in the budget for education. intercultural as part of an agenda of 10 demands.

The current protests are reminiscent of others in October 2019, during which indigenous people also protested for days in Quito over President Lenín Moreno’s decision to partially withdraw a state fuel subsidy. As a result of the protests, the then ruler had to back down on that initiative.

As night fell, thousands of citizens, mostly wearing white t-shirts and waving national flags, gathered north of the capital to demand with banners and shouts such as “Quito wants peace”, “Quito respects itself” and others calling for an end to the protests and the resumption of daily activities. Similar demonstrations were carried out to a lesser extent in other cities such as Guayaquil.

The demonstrations are impacting the private and public sectors of the Andean country’s economy, according to authorities.

The state-owned Petroecuador reported in the afternoon that due to the protests, about 40% of the oil (about 451,914 barrels) has stopped producing from the fields in the provinces of Orellana and Sucumbíos, in the Amazon, and 781 wells have been closed. , generating losses of 45 million dollars, according to company estimates. The figure does not include damage to oil infrastructure, theft and sabotage of equipment, among other actions, it indicates.

He pointed out that the operation of the country’s main oil pipeline, the Transecuatorian, of several power generation plants from oil blocks and smaller oil pipelines has also been stopped. This week that company declared a state of force majeure to avoid lawsuits and fines for non-compliance with the delivery of crude oil. Oil is the main export product of this country.

He added that security forces have been requested to distribute fuel, but due to the blockades, the tankers do not always reach their destination.

The protests, initially peaceful, have turned violent since Monday with attacks on private property, vehicles, including ambulances, as well as looting of businesses.

The cities of Ibarra, Cayambe, Otavalo, Latacunga, Ambato and Cuenca, among the most important, have almost no reserves of gasoline and gas for domestic use and the provision of food is minimal due to road closures, according to the authorities.

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Written by Editor TLN

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