At least 3 dead in Ecuador protest clashes

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June 23 (UPI) — Anti-government protests in Ecuador over rising costs in fuel, food and other basic needs have rattled the capital of Quito for days, leading to at least three deaths and hundreds of arrests.

The demonstrations against right-wing President Guillermo Lasso — which also draw attention to an increase in unemployment, farm product prices and crime — have taken place since June 13, CNN reported. They flared up again Thursday.

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The New York Times reported that Quito, the country’s second most populous city has been brought to a halt by the protests. Participants blocked roads and burned piles of tires. Police have fired tear gas at protesters, who threw rocks at officers, the newspaper added.

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador has been leading the protests, which also seek price controls on agricultural goods and greater funds funneled into education.

The Alliance of Organizations for Human Rights said at least three people have died and nearly 100 injured in the clashes. The group called on Lasso to declare a state of emergency.

The Ecuadorian government said it’s lost control of the Amazonian city of Puyo, where 18 police officers have been reported missing.

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“We cannot guarantee public safety in Puyo right now, they have burned the entire police infrastructure and the entrance to the city is under siege,” Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo said Tuesday.