20,000 indigenous Ecuadorians to join fuel hike protests

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-08 12:50:41|Editor: ZD
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QUITO, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Some 20,000 indigenous Ecuadorians were headed to the capital Quito to protest fuel price hikes, Ecuador's Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie) said on Monday.

The protesters were moving in caravans to join a mass demonstration starting on Wednesday against a presidential decree released on Oct. 1 that scrapped fuel subsidies, raising the prices of gasoline and diesel.

The indigenous association refused to talk with the government until the decree is repealed, Conaie President Jaime Vargas said at a press conference.

Eliminating the subsidies is part of the measures designed to lower the fiscal deficit, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said.

Monday marked the fifth day of a nationwide strike by transportation workers and other groups, who are also protesting against expected increases in transportation fares, and other related economic and labor reforms.

Some 467 people have been arrested so far as the indigenous caravans blocked highways in at least seven provinces, and sparked incidents of looting, mainly in the Andean province of Cotopaxi, according to the government.

Moreno announced a state of emergency on Thursday, deploying soldiers and police officers to remove roadblocks.