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Guillermo Lasso, in power for a year in Ecuador, said Monday that his calls for dialogue had not been heard by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities, which has been demonstrating for a week. Faced with this movement which seeks, according to him, to “drive him out” of power, he extended the state of emergency to three new provinces.
The President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso estimated on Monday June 20 that the indigenous movement, which has been leading anti-government protests for a week, wants to “drive” him out of power and has decided to extend the state of emergency to three new provinces. .
“We reached out, we called for dialogue, but they don’t want peace, they seek chaos, they want to oust the president,” Guillermo Lasso said in a video posted on his Twitter account.
The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie), which participated in the revolts that overthrew three presidents between 1997 and 2005, has been organizing marches and barricades for a week in several cities of the country and around the capital Quito, to demand a drop in prices. fuel.
The video released by Guillermo Lasso shows images of protesters engaging in street violence. “Democracy or chaos, that’s the big battle,” added the conservative president.
Arrests and injuries
Later in the day, the former banker elected a year ago decided to extend the state of emergency from three to six provinces, out of the 24 in the country, due to violence with the forces of the ‘order. The measure taken on Saturday for the provinces of Pichincha (whose capital is Quito), Cotopaxi and Imbabura, has been extended to those of Chimborazo, Tungurahua and Pastaza, the government said through its communications secretariat.
“This decision preserves the well-being of citizens in the face of violence. At the same time, the rights of those who demonstrate peacefully are protected,” it added.
The state of emergency allows the president to mobilize the armed forces to maintain order, to suspend the rights of citizens or to institute curfews.
Sixty-three police officers have been injured since the start of the protests, according to an official report, while a local human rights organization reported 79 arrests for 55 injured civilians.
The price of a gallon of diesel has increased by 90% (to $1.90) and that of gasoline by 46% (to $2.55) in almost a year. Prices have been frozen since last October, but Conaie is asking for a drop to $1.50 and $2.10 respectively.
Before any negotiation, the natives demand that Guillermo Lasso respond to a dozen demands, including the prohibition of mining concessions on their territories.
In another tweet, Guillermo Lasso assured that he had met these requirements. “Their answer? New threats to attack Quito. I am here to defend Quito”, he said, saying however “always open to dialogue”.
Hundreds of indigenous people are concentrated around one of the two southern entrances to the capital, in the locality of Cutuglagua, for a march towards the city center, AFP noted on Monday. Trucks block the road there, as well as barricades of tires, where the crowd chants slogans such as “Out Lasso, out!”.