Groups of native Ecuadorians Wednesday staged their second straight day of protests against the government of conservative President Guillermo Lasso barely six months into his term in office.
The strike represents economic losses for small businesses, which are the livelihood of thousands of Ecuadorian families and households. Say no to unemployment, for the reactivation and prosperity of the entire country, said Lasso after two days of roadblocks in addition to minor incidents nationwide.
The groups expressed their objections to Lasso's economic policy even after the authorities backtracked on their decision to increase the price of fuel, which was initially believed to be the motive behind the demonstrations and despite the state of exception decreed Oct. 18 as a response to growing violence.
Lasso, a well-known banker and businessman who had already run for president twice and whose name came out in the recent Pandora Papers report, became president of Ecuador on April 11 after defeating leftist candidate Andrés Arauz.
He has long insisted his main goal was to get the country out of its current economic crisis, with the Central Bank short of liquidity and a debt that reaches 63% of GDP, after things got worse due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During 2020, Ecuador's economy contracted 7.8% and the national poverty rate reached 32%.
The indigenous groups raised objections to Lasso's proposed increase in the price of fuel but also to his labour reform which the demonstrators claimed would render employment precarious and unstable.
The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie) posted on Twitter Tuesday that, at the end of a virtual extended council, together with the indigenous organizations Ecuarunari, Confeniae and Conaice, the extension of the protest to the second day of mobilizations and national resistance had been approved despite dozens being arrested on the first day of protests.
Other incidents were reported to have taken place during a nightfall march in Quito when a group of protesters tried to make their way to the Carondelet presidential palace.