Millennium Post

Ecuador govt, protesters agree deal to end deadly unrest

Quito: Ecuador's president and indigenous leaders reached an agreement Sunday to end nearly two weeks of violent protests against austerity measures put in place to obtain a multi-billion-dollar loan from the IMF. President Lenin Moreno met with Jaime Vargas, the head of the indigenous umbrella grouping CONAIE, for four hours of talks in the capital Quito broadcast live on state television.

"With this agreement, the mobilizations... across Ecuador are terminated and we commit ourselves to restoring peace in the country," said a joint statement, adding the government had withdrawn an order that removed fuel subsidies.

Rocketing prices after Moreno cut the subsidies to obtain a 4.2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund sparked 12 days of demonstrations that left seven people dead. The statement was read by an official from the United Nations, which mediated the talks along with the Catholic Church.

"The measures applied in all our territories are lifted," confirmed Vargas, wearing face paint and a head wreath of feathers. Moreno had declared a curfew and placed Quito under military control to quell the unrest.

On Sunday, violent clashes continued before the talks began as police fought to disperse protesters who tried to put up a barricade of debris from Saturday's unrest.

"Native brothers, I have always treated you with respect and affection," Moreno said as the talks opened. "It was never my intention to affect the poorest sectors." Protesters had converged on Quito from around the country. Authorities said 1,349 people had been injured and 1,152 detained in the demonstrations.

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