Quito, June 18 (EFE).- Ecuador parliament will debate on Monday a possible repeal of a state of emergency in three provinces by President Guillermo Lasso in response to crippling anti-government protests by Indigenous people.
National Assembly president Virgilio Saquicela said Saturday that he convened a session during which lawmakers would also discuss initiating talks between Lasso and the organizers of an open-ended anti-government protest by the country’s Indigenous community.
Demonstrators have been protesting against the government’s economic policies as rising inflation, unemployment, and poverty have hit the oil-producing nation.
The protests began last Monday. Students, workers, and trade unions have since joined the demonstrations.
Saquicela told reporters Saturday that 72 of the 137 National Assembly members have signed a motion to revoke the state of emergency.
He said legal formalities to table the motion were complete.
The debate will take place on Monday afternoon at the
Legislative Palace, said the parliament speaker, indicating that it would also be the venue for possible negotiations to end the social unrest.
“We do not want the country to suffer,” Saquicela said.
He hoped a majority decision would repeal the state of emergency to enable a call for talks on Tuesday morning.
Earlier, opposition lawmaker Paola Cabezas told Efe that the motion to debate the emergency revocation had enough votes (minimum 70) to be tabled.
She alleged serious irregularities marred the emergency decree by the president.
The opposition leader said two official texts circulated last night about that decision had different contents.
There are two written decrees, she said.
One includes a paragraph that warns about the restriction of internet service in the provinces of Imbabura, Cotopaxi, and Pichincha (whose capital is Quito), where the state of emergency is in force.
The lawmaker said it violated the right to freedom of expression and could restrict the work of many digital media houses that have covered the protests.
One order also warned about the “lethal use of force” by law enforcement officials, raising concerns.
Demonstrators have blockaded roads across the country, including highways to Quito.
Dozens have suffered injuries in clashes with security forces.
The president declared a state of emergency on Friday, allowing the government to call out the armed forces to maintain order, suspend civil rights, and impose restrictions. EFE