QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — One man was killed and dozens injured Thursday during the 12th day of protests led by Indigenous people demanding that Ecuador's government cut fuel prices, put price controls on food and spend more on education.
After several days of increasing violence, demonstrations clashed with soldiers and riot police in Quito and other cities in the Andean country.
The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities, which has organized the national strike, said a demonstrator died of pellet wounds in the chest and abdomen while protesting near the National Assembly.
Authorities acknowledged there was one death, and Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo said they were “dismayed.” He said that the government had not provided any pellet guns to police personnel and that on Thursday they were carrying only gas to disperse protesters.
Christian Rivera, a volunteer paramedic, told The Associated that 100 or so people had been treated at the site, including protesters, soldiers and police.
The demonstrations are part of a national strike that the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities began June 14 to demand that gasoline prices be cut 45 cents a gallon to $2.10, price controls be put on agricultural products and a larger budget be adopted for education. Protests have been especially violent in six provinces in north-central Ecuador.
Indigenous leader Leonidas Iza on Tuesday demanded that the government lift the state of emergency in those provinces and remove the military and police presence around places where protesters have gathered in Quito. But the government rejected the demands Wednesday, saying meeting them would leave “the capital defenseless.”
Quito is experiencing food and fuel shortages because of protester roadblocks and other disruptions from the unrest.