As the mobilization enters its seventeenth day, a few thousand natives marched in the streets of the city center 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, not for fun or to be tourists. Our families are waiting for us, we want to go home. But we will stay until the government gives us an answer,” stormed Isak, 28, in disguise as Captain America, star shield included. “We are poor, we are hungry, we have nothing to lose.”

“We don’t want ten cents, we want results!”, chanted the colorful crowd, women in red ponchos at the head of the procession, surrounded by spearmen in construction helmets and sheet metal shields.

Sunday, the government had announced a reduction of 10 dollar cents for gasoline and diesel, but the demonstrators consider this reduction insufficient and claim a reduction of more than 20%.

In the narrow streets with elegant buildings in 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.

“We are going to stay here until the President of the Republic restores dialogue,” repeated the demonstrators.

On Tuesday, conservative President Guillermo Lasso suspended the dialogue initiated the day before 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.

– “Open door” –

Mr. 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”.

La Conaie immediately reacted by accusing the government of “authoritarianism” and “lack of will”. “All marches and mobilizations must take place calmly. Let’s no longer use excuses for not wanting to dialogue”, pleaded Leonidas Iza overnight, seeming to adopt a more conciliatory posture.

The day before, he had already assured “leave the door open” to a resumption of dialogue, calling on the protesters to exercise restraint.

Six people, five demonstrators and a soldier, have been killed since the protests began. More than 500 people, civilians or members of the security forces, were injured, with some 150 arrests, according to observers.

During the night of Tuesday to Wednesday, clashes opposed demonstrators to the police north of Quito where two police stations were set on fire. Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo denounced the “irrationality” of the protest.

Quito, where ten thousand 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, white flags at the head and in vehicles, in the northern and affluent part of the city, spared by the demonstrations.

The government had ended the state of emergency decreed a week earlier in six of the 24 provinces on Saturday, and assured Tuesday that it had no intention of reinstating it immediately.

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

On Tuesday evening, President Lasso escaped impeachment, with the rejection by Parliament of a motion introduced by the opposition party of former Socialist President Rafael Correa (2007-2017).

The dispute weighs on the country’s economy, in particular oil extraction. Past mobilizations of the indigenous movement caused the fall of three presidents between 1997 and 2005.