As the mobilization enters its seventeenth day, Wednesday June 29, the prospect of an immediate end to the crisis is receding in Ecuador, the government of Guillermo Lasso refusing to negotiate "with a gun to its head".

A few thousand natives marched in the streets of downtown Quito, as well as around the presidency, in the historic district of the capital, to demand "the resumption of negotiations".

In more or less small groups, and without notable incident, the demonstrators surveyed avenues and crossroads of the sector, in the vicinity of the Parliament and around the Ecuadorian Cultural Center (CCE), a vast indigenous cultural center which serves as their headquarters and base. of life.

"We are here to resist (...), we will stay as long as the government does not give us an answer", stormed Isak, 28, disguised as Captain America, starry shield included.

"We are poor, we are hungry, we have nothing to lose."

"We don't want ten cents (referring to the lower fuel prices announced by the government), we want results!" chanted the colorful crowd.

In the narrow streets of the historic center flown over by a helicopter, all the traders hastened to lower their curtains as the procession approached.

Since the start of the protest on June 13, the surroundings of the Palais Carondelet, the presidency, have been fortified behind heavy iron gates and police cordons.

Negotiations suspended

The day before, conservative President Guillermo Lasso suspended the dialogue initiated with indigenous representatives, including Leonidas Iza, head of the powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie, spearhead of the protests), after an attack in the Amazon during which a soldier was killed.

Guillermo Lasso posed as a condition for a resumption of discussions the presence of "legitimate representatives" of the natives "open to a real and frank dialogue".

"We are ready to listen, to dialogue, but we will not do it with a gun to our head," added Minister of Government Affairs Francisco Jimenez on Wednesday.

"They cannot continue the attacks on the population, block the roads, try to create chaos in the country", accused the minister on a local media, judging however the last demonstrations "much smaller".

For his part, Leonidas Iza seemed to adopt a more conciliatory stance: "All marches and mobilizations must take place calmly. Let's no longer use excuses for not wanting to dialogue", he pleaded in the night, shortly after having assured "leave the door open" to a resumption of dialogue.

>> To read also on France 24: PORTRAIT - Leonidas Iza, the indigenous leader who challenges power in Ecuador

State of emergency declared in four provinces

Six people, five demonstrators and a soldier, have been killed since the protests began.

More than 600 people, civilians or members of the security forces, were injured, with some 150 arrests, according to observers. 

The capital, where thousands of indigenous demonstrators are gathered, out of the 14,000 in the whole country according to the police, is at the heart of the mobilization.

Some small pro-government counter-demonstrations are also taking place there, in vehicles, in the northern and affluent part of the city, spared by the demonstrations.

The government had put an end, on Saturday, to the state of emergency decreed a week earlier in six of the 24 provinces.

On Wednesday, he decreed it again in four provinces outside the capital, in the Andean part (Azuay, Imbabura) and in the Amazon (Sucumbios and Orellana).

This thirty-day measure, also providing for a curfew, was taken after "violent actions that disturbed public order", and aims to guarantee public safety and the supply of these provinces with basic necessities.

The indigenous peasants of Cotopaxi, about fifty kilometers south of the capital, promised for Thursday a "massive mobilization" in Quito, where the indigenous presence seems to have been reduced in recent days.

With AFP

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