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Ecuador, indigenous leaders strike deal to end protests

By
Clyde Hughes
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno (C) meets with indigenous Ecuadorians in Quito, Ecuador, Sunday to broker an agreement to settle several days of protests. Photo by Ecuador Presidency/EPA-EFE
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno (C) meets with indigenous Ecuadorians in Quito, Ecuador, Sunday to broker an agreement to settle several days of protests. Photo by Ecuador Presidency/EPA-EFE

Oct. 14 (UPI) -- The Ecuadorian government and the country's indigenous leaders have made a deal to end economic austerity measures that spawned more than 10 days of protests that ground its capital city to a halt.

The agreement was reached Sunday night. Quito, the Ecuadorian capital, had been mired in violence that included fires and attacks by activists against the auditor office and news media. At least seven people died as a result of the violence.

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Both sides pledged to work toward initiatives to cut government spending and taxes, and President Lenin Moreno agreed to move away from a plan -- backed by the International Monetary Fund -- to raise fuel prices.

Hundreds were arrested and schools and businesses were closed during several days of demonstrations. The Red Cross suspended operations because the government couldn't guarantee protection for staff.

Pope Francis called attention to the protests before weekly Angelus prayers Sunday.

"Together with all the members of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region, especially those from Ecuador, I follow with concern what is happening in the last few weeks in that country," he said.

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"I join in the sorrow for the dead, the wounded and the missing people. I encourage you to seek social peace, with particular attention to the most vulnerable populations and to human rights."

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