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Ecuador rejects conditions for talks with indigenous protesters as siege of capital continues

ECUADOR has rejected indigenous protesters’ conditions for talks on ending strikes and demonstrations that have left the capital starved of fuel and food.

The national strike by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities started on June 14, demanding cuts to the price of petrol, price controls for food and higher education spending.

Leader Leonidas Iza offered to suspend the action for talks if the government lifts the state of emergency it has imposed on six provinces and remove military and police presence from the protest camps in Quito. But Minister of Government Francisco Jimenez said this would leave the capital “defenceless.”

Ecuador’s previous Lenin Moreno government was forced to flee the capital in the face of mass indigenous protests in 2019. Mr Moreno had come to power on a pledge to continue the socialist policies of predecessor Rafael Correa, but in office exiled Mr Correa, purged the judiciary and imposed renewed neoliberal policies. 

Last year neoliberal Guillermo Lasso narrowly beat socialist Andres Arauz in an unfree election in which the leftwinger was banned from using the name of Mr Correa’s party or featuring him in any election materials.

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