Ecuador military calls Indigenous protests ‘grave threat’ to democracy

5. Ecuador
Demonstrators block a road near El Arbolito park in Quito, on June 21, 2022, on the ninth consecutive day of protests against the government. (Photo: AFP)
QUITO — The head of Ecuador’s armed forces on Tuesday denounced as a “grave threat” to democracy the wave of Indigenous-led fuel price protests that have triggered regional states of emergency and a curfew in the capital Quito.اضافة اعلان

On the ninth day of protests that have seen roads barricaded countrywide, cost the economy tens of millions of dollars and left dozens injured, Defense Minister Luis Lara warned that the armed forces “will not allow attempts to break the constitutional order or any action against democracy and the laws of the republic”.

“Ecuador’s democracy faces a grave threat from the concerted actions of agitated people who are preventing the free movement of the majority of Ecuadorans,” charged Lara, flanked by the heads of the army, navy, and air force.

President Guillermo Lasso on Monday extended a state of emergency to cover six of the country’s 24 provinces as he sought to curtail the demonstrations.

The powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie) — credited with helping topple three presidents between 1997 and 2005 — called the countrywide protests as Ecuadorans increasingly struggle to make ends meet.

Indigenous people comprise more than a million of Ecuador’s 17.7 million inhabitants, and their movement has since been joined by students, worker and others feeling the economic pinch.

Police said Monday 63 armed forces personnel have been wounded in clashes and 21 others briefly held hostage since the protests began, while human rights observers reported 79 arrests and 55 civilians wounded.

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