Conflicts & War

Ecuadorians protesting austerity clash with police

Quito, Oct 26 (EFE).- A march here Tuesday by thousands of people protesting the austerity policies of Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso ended with a confrontation between police and demonstrators.

Participants walked about 2 km (1.2 mi) from El Ejido Park to Plaza de Santo Domingo in the heart of Quito, where they listened to speeches from the leaders of Ecuador’s main labor unions.

Efe watched as some people at the back of the procession began to hurl sticks and stones at police standing at checkpoints leading to Plaza Grande, where the presidential palace is located.

The officers launched tear gas canisters into the center of Plaza de Santo Domingo, prompting some protesters to flee while others joined in throwing rocks and other objects at the cops.

There were no reports of injuries or arrests.

Prior to the disturbances, opposition lawmaker told reporters that Ecuadorians were ready to fight against “unjust measures that are being imposed by the national government.”

The chief grievance is Lasso’s policy of gradually increasing the price of fuel, a policy he suspended a few days ago in a bid to quell the outcry.

Participants in Tuesday’s march dismissed the halt to price hikes as a mockery of the public, as the stabilization came only after a series of increases that raised the overall cost of living.

Many demonstrators likewise pointed to revelations in the Pandora Papers – a trove of documents detailing questionable transactions in tax havens – that call into question the veracity of the multimillionaire president’s financial disclosure statements.

Ecuador’s 2007 constitution bars officeholders from financial holdings in tax-haven jurisdictions.

Besides the mobilization in Quito, opponents of Lasso mounted protests and blocked highways in various parts of the Andean nation.

Government spokesman Carlos Jijon told a press conference that 18 people were arrested nationwide for obstructing traffic. EFE pa-elb/dr

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