The massive demonstration is testing the ability of Lasso, a former conservative banker in office since May 2021, to revive Ecuador’s economy and kick-start employment.
Guillermo Lasso has an adverse relationship with the National Assembly (parliament), where some legislators have blocked his proposals, and has fought to contain the increase in violence linked to drug gangs.
The demonstrations, led by the indigenous organization Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie)began with peaceful road blockades, but the levels of violence have increased in some parts of the country, including the capital, Quito, which has led the president to decree the Exception status in six provinces.
Protesters with explosives and ancestral weapons and firearms, carbine-type, clashed Tuesday night with soldiers in the city of Puyo, in the province of Pastaza, Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo told reporters.
Amid the riots, people burned down a police station and patrol cars, attempted to loot a bank and attacked passers-by, the minister explained, attributing the incidents to radical groups.
“We cannot guarantee public order in the city of Puyo nowThey have set fire to the entire police infrastructure and have besieged the entrance to the city,” he said.
Amazonian indigenous community leaders responded in a statement rejecting the vandalism in Puyo and accusing the security forces of worsening the violence in the city.
Lasso reiterated his call for dialogue early on Wednesday, which would be supported by the United Nations and the European Union.
One protester was killed amid the incidents in Puyo and six police officers were seriously injured, while 18 are missing, the government said.
But the Alliance of Organizations for Human Rights assured that the indigenous protester died after being hit in the head by a police tear gas bomb.
Thousands of indigenous people have been protesting since Monday in Quito amid heavy clashes with security forces. Roadblocks continue throughout the country.