On Sunday, after almost a week of demonstrations against the economic and social policies of President Guillermo Lasso, who has been unable to remove road barricades and violence around the nation, hundreds of indigenous people invaded Ecuador’s capital city of Quito. This came after the protests.
Indigenous protesters arrived in trucks, cars, and on foot in the midst of a state of exception declared by Lasso in three provinces – including that of Quito – in an effort to curb protests that have at times seen violence, with police being captured, and attacks on oil industry and flower farms. Lasso declared the state of exception in an effort to curb protests that have at times seen violence, with police being captured, and attacks on oil industry and flower farms.
Reuters received information from a witness who said that further demonstrators were still making their way towards the city.
The protests started on Monday with a list of ten demands, some of which included a reduction in the cost of gasoline, an end to any further growth of Ecuador’s oil and mining industries, and more time for smaller and medium-sized farmers to pay off their debts.
Lasso has made a plea for discussion and has proposed initiatives to support disadvantaged segments of society. These measures include the provision of subsidised fertiliser, an enhanced budget for health and education for indigenous communities, and the cancellation of outstanding debts of up to $3,000 USD.
In spite of the fact that they provide some assistance, the measures, according to the demonstrators, do not resolve the economic issues that are experienced by thousands of families on a daily basis.
“We have come to reject a neoliberal policy that affects the poor more and more,” Leonidas Iza, head of the CONAIE indigenous group, stated via social media. “We have come to resist a neoliberal policy that affects the poor more and more.”
According to the government, the private sector had lost almost $50 million as of Friday, while the state-owned oil firm Petroecuador said that output was disrupted to the tune of 27,700 barrels of petroleum.
In order to prevent demonstrators from entering Quito while a curfew is in effect, the government has deployed security forces in a significant show of force across the city.