Protests continue to increase across this Andean country despite the fact that President Lasso decreed a "State of Emergency."
On Wednesday, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) continued to hold protests against the increase in fuel prices decreed by President Guillermo Lasso.
The Indigenous organization presented seven demands to end the nationwide protests. Along with the reduction of fuel prices, it demands the release of the citizens detained during the protests. CONAIE also denounced the presence of police and military personnel in Indigenous territories to intimidate the people.
Yesterday, protesters blocked the country's main roads with trees and debris. A massive group marched towards the Presidential palace where riot police confronted them. In the capital city, public forces fired tear gas at demonstrators at the Santo Domingo square. At least 27 protesters were detained and many more resulted injured.
On Wednesday, roads in at least 10 cities remain blocked with burning tires or metal debris. The Lasso administration has not responded yet to the people’s demands but has stated that it has not ruled out a new negotiation process.
After similar protests in September, President Lasso and CONAIE leaders met and negotiated a possible solution to the fuel price issue. However, their dialogue ceased on Oct. 4.
In Oct. 2019, then-President Lenin Moreno implemented austerity measures, eliminated fuel subsidies, and increased the price of gasoline. In response to these policies, social organizations carried out a 10-day nationwide protest that revealed the discontent of Ecuadorians. Despite the existence of this precedent, Lasso decided to continue with the monthly increase in fuel prices.
On Monday, Lasso declared a 60-day state of emergency allegedly to stop crime and violence attributed to drug traffickers. Workers, farmers, and students have condemned his move as an attempt to quell popular demonstrations.