Ecuador president orders curfew, military control in Quito

QUITO (AFP) – Ecuador President Lenin Moreno last Saturday ordered the capital Quito and surrounding areas placed under curfew and military control, as an 11th day of deadly protests against government austerity measures roiled the city.

The order would “facilitate the work of public forces against intolerable outbreaks of violence,” he announced on Twitter, as clouds of smoke hung over the city.

“I have arranged for the Joint Command of the Armed Forces to immediately carry out necessary measures and operations,” Moreno said in a brief national address, flanked by Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner and Defence Minister Oswaldo Jarrin.

The restrictions in Quito, a city of 2.7 million, came on top of a state of emergency Moreno had declared on October 3, deploying some 75,000 military and police and imposing a nighttime curfew in the vicinity of government buildings.

Violence continued in Quito last Saturday even as the indigenous movement leading the protests over fuel price hikes reversed course and said it had accepted a proposal for direct talks with Moreno.

In his address, Moreno thanked indigenous groups for agreeing to negotiations, but did not say when or where the talks would take place. The president stressed that he would restore “order throughout Ecuador” as thousands of protesters thronged the streets of Quito.