Jun 28, 2022 - World

Ecuador government and Indigenous group end talks after disruptive protests

A group of protesters wearing helmets, capes and holding sheets of metal as protection walk through an anti-government protest in Ecuador

Indigenous people holding makeshift shields remain outside the Matovelle high school, awaiting the resolutions of the indigenous leadership after the government suspended negotiations, in Quito, on June 28, 2022. Photo: Martin Bernetti/AFP via Getty Images.

Ecuador's government has stopped negotiations with an Indigenous coalition that has been carrying out nationwide protests that have paralyzed parts of the country, shutting down roads and causing delays in the country's oil production.

Driving the news: President Guillermo Lasso said Tuesday that discussions won't continue because the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) is fostering groups that carry out violence like the attack that left one military officer dead and over 10 wounded early today in an Amazon region.

  • CONAIE, which has accused the government of violent attacks on protesters, responded in a tweet: "The government's decision to break the dialogue is a sign of authoritarianism, lack of will and incapability. We hold Guillermo Lasso responsible for whatever consequences come from his bellicose policy"
  • Since June 13, the group has been protesting rising costs, medicine shortages and mining projects that could hurt Indigenous land.
  • It rejected the government's plan to lower gas prices on Monday, saying it was insufficient.

Why it matters: The blockades have also caused food shortages and resulted in an oxygen supply shortage in hospitals and temporary school suspensions, authorities say.

  • CONAIE says it will open humanitarian corridors. One of its 10 demands has been for food to be more readily available in certain provinces.
  • College students and other groups have joined the protests.

Between the lines: The National Assembly is considering impeaching Lasso over the crisis.

  • The president has claimed that opponents are using the protests as an "attempt to destabilize democracy" and his government with the help of CONAIE — an accusation the Indigenous group denies.

Background: Lasso said during a national address Sunday night that gas would soon be lowered by 10 cents a gallon. CONAIE was asking for a 40-cent reduction.

  • Lasso also put an end to a curfew and military policing instituted during a state of emergency declared June 18 in six provinces. Amnesty International says at least one person was killed by the armed forces.

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