- Title: Ecuador interior minister discusses violent protests
- Date: 10th October 2019
- Summary: QUITO, ECUADOR (OCTOBER 09, 2019) (REUTERS) FIRE BURNING IN FRONT OF BARRICADE WITH PROTESTERS IN FOREGROUND PEOPLE FLEE AS POLICE VEHICLE BARRELS DOWN STREET PROTESTERS BEHIND SHIELD
- Embargoed: 24th October 2019 05:50
- Keywords: Ecuador tear gas violence Maria Paula Romo protests police President Lenin Moreno interior minister national strike clashes
- Location: QUITO, ECUADOR
- City: QUITO, ECUADOR
- Country: Ecuador
- Topics: Government/Politics,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA004B0IJXVR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Ecuador's interior minister discussed the protests rocking the Andean country and security operations that have seen forces crack down on demonstrators during a massive national strike on Wednesday (October 09).
Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo apologized to the country after police fired tear gas near two universities and a cultural center in Quito where safe areas for protesters had been set up.
"They were after a group of protesters but in no way is this admissible. I'm sorry," Romo said in a televised press conference after video of the incidents sparked criticism on social media. "This is not going to happen again."
Amid the chaos, prisoners escaped from a jail in Manabi province, though Romo said they were being rounded up.
In Latin America's latest flare-up over unpopular structural economic reforms, protests cleared many streets of traffic, while schools closed and businesses shuttered from the highland capital Quito to coastal city Guayaquil.
The indigenous-led demonstrations were mostly peaceful, but clashes erupted in several parts of Quito and other cities, with masked youth throwing rocks and police firing tear gas.
The demonstrators' main demand is the withdrawal of a fuel subsidy cut, which has sent transport and food prices soaring, though some were also urging President Lenin Moreno to quit.
For seven days, protesters have been marching and barricading roads with burning tires, while police in armored vehicles have responded with water cannon and gas.
(Production: Cristina Munoz, Alberto Fajardo)
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