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after the chaos in Quito, the president orders a curfew around places of power

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Anti-government protesters in Quito, October 8. Fernando Vergara / AP

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno on Tuesday (October 8th) ordered a night curfew around places of power following incidents in Quito, where the parliament was briefly invaded by protesters protesting the massive rise in the price of money. petrol.

Freedom of movement was restricted between 8 pm and 5 am local time for "Areas adjacent to strategic facilities such as buildings that house" public power, according to a decree signed by the head of state.

Moreno, who had shifted the government's headquarters to Guayaquil (southwest), the economic capital of the small South American country, had already declared a state of emergency for sixty days so that the armed forces could restore order. The curfew will have the same duration.

New incidents between police and demonstrators erupted Tuesday in the capital. Police officers who cordoned off the historic center of Quito used tear gas. Opposite, hundreds of men with masked faces and armed with sticks tried to progress by throwing stones. The smoke of the gases was mingled with that of the burned barricades, made of tires and branches.

After a brief incursion into the Chamber of the National Assembly, a group of protesters was repelled by police and soldiers, according to local television.

Protesters had already tried to access parliament on Monday. Thousands of natives and peasants continued to flock to Quito to attend a major demonstration on Wednesday alongside the unions.

Protesters managed to break into the Ecuadorian parliament in Quito on October 8.
Protesters managed to break into the Ecuadorian parliament in Quito on October 8. CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS / REUTERS

Hand outstretched, unanswered

Lenin Moreno, a 66-year-old Liberal, reached out to the natives and invited them to dialogue. For the time being, the opposing side has not made known its answer. Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo then announced that the government was accepting "A mediation of the United Nations and the Episcopal Conference" (Catholic Church), already working with leaders of the protest.

This small Andean country has been rocked since early October by a social unrest since 2007, marked by blockades of roads and oil wells in the Amazon, sometimes violent demonstrations and strikes crippling the country.

Production losses of the state-owned company Petroamazonas stood Tuesday at 165,000 barrels per day, or 31% of the usual figures, according to a statement from the Ministry of Energy. On Monday, the drop in production was 12%. Ecuador, which recently announced its withdrawal from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), extracted some 531,000 barrels a day of crude oil between January and July this year.

Monday evening, in a radio and television speech, Lenin Moreno had accused his Venezuelan counterpart, "The satrap (Nicolas) Maduro ", and his own predecessor to the presidency of Ecuador Rafael Correa, to have "Activated" a "Destabilization plan".

In a video broadcast Tuesday on social networks, Correa, who lives in Belgium, denied: "There is no question of coup. In a democracy, conflicts are settled at the ballot box and that is exactly what we ask: (…) to advance the elections in case of serious social unrest, like the one we know "said the former head of state (2007-2017), fierce opponent of his former ally and successor.

Read also Ecuador: state of emergency declared against blockades against the price of fuel

"Supermoustache"

Nicolas Maduro for his part reacted Tuesday night from Caracas in an ironic way: "I move my whiskers and drop governments, that's what Lenin Moreno says. (…) I am not Superman, I am Supermoustache. "

For its part, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), the main representative body of the indigenous peoples of the country, disassociated itself from the former head of state and the violence of Monday. The Conaie "Distances itself from the putschist platform of Correaism (current of the former president), we fight for the exit of Ecuador from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). We will not allow those who have criminalized us for ten years to recover our struggle and that of the Ecuadorian people. ", she wrote on Twitter. "The acts of vandalism reported near the Parliament have nothing to do with our activists, our struggle will not be delegitimized"she added.

Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and four other Latin American countries reported on Tuesday "Firm support" to President Moreno. The Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union (EU), the United States and Spain condemned the violence and called for dialogue.

Read also In Ecuador, road blocks and protests continue

President Moreno's decision to remove fuel subsidies totaling $ 1.3 billion (approximately € 1.18 billion) came into effect on October 3. In return, Ecuador can access $ 4.2 billion (about € 3.8 billion) in IMF loans. This has resulted in price increases of up to 123%; the liter has thus passed on average from $ 0.48 to $ 0.63, according to Globlapetrolprices.com.

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