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Ecuador Roiled by Protests Set Off by Rising Fuel and Food Prices

Ecuador Roiled by Protests Set Off by Rising Fuel and Food Prices

QUITO, Ecuador — For more than a week, the Andean nation of Ecuador has been buffeted by at times violent protests over a spike in prices for fuel, food and other basic necessities, driven by a global inflation that is causing similar levels of frustration across Latin America.

The country’s capital, Quito, has been virtually paralyzed by demonstrators blocking main roads, burning tires and clashing with the police, throwing rocks at officers who have responded by shooting tear gas. Clashed erupted again on Thursday.

The marches and rallies, which have been led by Indigenous groups, pose a significant challenge for the right-wing government of President Guillermo Lasso, who is struggling to revive an economy battered by the pandemic.

The protests started last week in rural Ecuador when a powerful group, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, or Conaie, announced a strike and issued a list of demands, including a cut in fuel prices, price controls on some agricultural goods and more spending on education.

Since then, the protests have expanded to Quito and many other parts of the country.

The unrest has left at least three dead and nearly 100 people wounded, according to numbers compiled by the Alliance of Organizations for Human Rights, a national group, and has pushed Mr. Lasso to declare a state of emergency in six of Ecuador’s 24 provinces.

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In the country’s Amazon region, the government says it has lost control of the small city of Puyo to protesters wielding guns, spears and explosives. Government officials also reported that 18 officers were missing following the clashes, and others had been wounded.

“We cannot guarantee public safety in Puyo right now, they have burned the entire police infrastructure and the entrance to the city is under…

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