Violence erupts in Ecuador after arrest of indigenous leader


Clashes broke out in several cities in Ecuador on Tuesday, after police detained the leader of the country's largest indigenous organization, Leonidas Iza after he led blockades on several highways in protest against the government's economic policies.

Indigenous groups began on Monday what they said will be an ongoing protest to demand President Guillermo Lasso freeze the price of gasoline, declare a moratorium on small farmers' bank debts and limit oil and mining expansion in the country. Read full story

On Monday night protesters burned a patrol car and attacked police officers, extinguished a pressure pump in an oil field and damaged infrastructure in some flower farms, the government said.

Iza's arrest on Tuesday prompted further protests, while violence rose in some parts of the country.

Hundreds of indigenous people arrived in Latacunga, south of the capital city Quito, to support Iza on Tuesday afternoon. Other marches were reported in small towns with indigenous populations.

Ecuador's police said officers had been assaulted and several of them detained by protesters in Latacunga.

Community and student groups were also protesting against Lasso's economic reforms in Quito in the afternoon, culminating in an attack on a police car.

Lasso has said he will not allow protests to affect economic recovery and will punish any vandalism during protests.

Ecuadorean oil company PetroOriental said it was losing production of some 1,400 barrels per day and had shuttered eight wells in Orellana province after a small group from the Yawepare community occupied its installations, blocked access roads and damaged the tires of military vehicles with spears.

Violence erupts in Ecuador after arrest of indigenous leader