After another day of unrest in Ecuador’s capital Quito, which saw protesters blocking roads and breaking into government buildings, President Lenin Moreno agreed to reconsider the controversial cancellation of fuel subsidies.
Due to “the complexity of the situation,” Moreno will take another look at Decree 883, which enraged the people so much, Quito Mayor, Jorge Yunda Machado, announced on Twitter.
The president also offered the protest leaders to begin talks to settle the crisis and they accepted the invitation.
One of the conditions was that the talks be held in public and be broadcast live. “We’re not going to talk behind closed doors. It has to be with the Ecuadorian people,” one of the protest leaders said.
But besides proposing dialogue, Moreno also announced that he’s introducing a curfew and “militarization” of Quito, starting 8pm GMT. “This will facilitate the use of public force in the face of intolerable excess of violence,” he said on Twitter.
Footage from Quito on Saturday resembled a war zone, with barricades, fires and plumes of tear gas fired by the police at the raging crowds.
Live feed by RT’s video agency Ruptly showed thick smoke in the air and crowds of people rioting, as sounds of explosions frequently rocked the streets.
— RT (@RT_com) October 12, 2019
The protesters, mainly represented by Ecuador’s indigenous people, set the Comptroller General’s Office on fire and ravaged the parliament building, breaking windows and throwing furniture into the street. The demonstrators also blocked all roads leading to Quito International Airport.
The administrative buildings taken over by the protesters were empty, as Moreno had already moved the government to the city of Guayaquil, located 250 kilometers south-west of Quito.
It was the capital’s tenth straight day of unrest, which broke out after the government announced austerity measures as part of a $4.2 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The suspension on fuel subsidies saw the price of gasoline spiking from $1.85 to $2.39 per gallon, while diesel prices went up by a staggering 123 per cent – from $1.03 to $2.29.
Five people have been killed and over 1,000 wounded in clashes since October 3, according to government data. The police have arrested over 1,100 demonstrators.
Moreno was previously reluctant to reconsider the harsh measures and blamed former president, Rafael Correa, and his ally Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, of masterminding the demonstrations.
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