Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno and leaders of the country’s indigenous population reached an agreement on Sunday night to end nearly two weeks of violent protests that have left seven people dead.
Protests began earlier this month after Moreno introduced Decree 883, a set of economic measures to cut spending in return for a US$4.2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.
The measures included getting rid of fuel subsidies which had been in place for decades, causing fuel prices in the country to skyrocket.
In response, transport and labour workers, human rights groups and students took to the streets, bringing the country to a standstill. Many of the protesters belonged to indigenous groups, who were among those hit hardest by the new measures.
Moreno declared a national state of emergency just hours after protests began. Riot police and the army were sent to the capital of Quito and other cities. They used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds. The protesters, in turn, threw rocks, bricks, and petrol bombs at authorities.
The unrest was the worst seen in the country inmore than a decade. At least seven people were killed, hundreds were wounded, and more than 1,000 people were arrested.
Late last week, Moreno began communicating directly with indigenous leaders. On Sunday, he agreed to revoke Decree 883, allowing fuel prices to return to their traditionally low levels. In return, indigenous leaders called off the protests. Following the announcement, people lit fireworks in Quito in celebration.