Ecuador police officers missing after protest attack

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Demonstrators march from the Central University to the House of Ecuadorian Culture in Quito

Ecuador on Wednesday refused protesters’ demands to lift a state of emergency and said 18 police officers were missing following an attack by Indigenous groups on a police station.

Two people have died in 10 days of nationwide protests, while the government has declared an emergency in six of Ecuador’s 24 departments following clashes between demonstrators and security forces.

Another six officers were seriously injured and three more detained by protesters, he said. A protester also died Tuesday in the attack in Puyo, a five-hour drive south of the capital Quito.

President Guillermo Lasso has proposed dialogue with the powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), which called the protests, in a bid to end the escalating violence.

Ecuador, a small South American country riddled by drugs trafficking, has been hit by rising inflation, unemployment and poverty — all exacerbated by the pandemic.

“We cannot lift the state of exception because that would leave the capital defenseless, and we already know what happened in October 2019 and we will not allow that,” Minister of Government Francisco Jimenez told the Teleamazonas channel.

– Demand for lower fuel prices –

On Wednesday, around 1,000 Indigenous people converged on the city center in small groups, setting up road blocks with tree trunks along the way and chanting “Lasso out!”

Olmedo Ayala, 42, said Indigenous people were “very annoyed with the government.

Conaie, which has mobilized at least 10,000 people in Quito, hundreds of whom have clashed with security forces in recent days, wants the government to lower fuel prices.

“It is not the time to put more conditions, to make more demands. It is the moment to sit down and talk,” said Jimenez.

An Indigenous protester died after he was “hit in the face, apparently with a tear gas bomb” on Tuesday following the confrontation with security forces in Puyo, a lawyer for the Alliance of Human Rights Organizations told AFP.

Another protester died on Monday after falling into a ravine outside Quito, with police claiming that too was an accident.

The Alliance said 90 people have been injured and 87 arrested since protests began on June 13.

sp-lbc/bc/bgs

Originally published as Ecuador police officers missing after protest attack


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