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Ecuador's opposition lawmakers start trying to get rid of Lasso, and protests keep going on

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English -  After almost two weeks of mass protests led by indigenous groups who want lower prices for fuel and food...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English -  After almost two weeks of mass protests led by indigenous groups who want lower prices for fuel and food, a group of opposition lawmakers in Ecuador are trying to get President Guillermo Lasso out of office.

Since the protests started on June 13, at least six civilians have died and there have been many attacks on security forces.

Lasso's relationship with the national assembly, which was already bad, has gotten worse because of the protests. Lawmakers in the national assembly have blocked his major economic plans while he has been trying to stop the rising violence, which he blames on drug gangs.

Lawmakers from the leftist opposition UNES movement, who were loyal to former President Rafael Correa, asked on Twitter for elections to be moved up from 2025.

If there is a political crisis or mass unrest in Ecuador, the constitution says that lawmakers can get rid of the president and call for elections.

UNES opposition lawmaker Fausto Jarrin told Reuters, "The country can't take it any more." He also said that he was formally asking the legislature to hold a meeting about the removal process. "Violence is being used by all sides to stop talks."

Jarrin said that lawmakers from other parties would support the efforts on their own.

For a debate on Lasso's removal to happen, 46 legislators must agree to talk about it.

To get rid of him, 92 of the assembly's 137 lawmakers would have to agree. Lasso can also call for elections and dissolve the legislature himself.

Minister of the government Francisco Jimenez didn't like what the UNES did.

"We've been clear that we want to talk, we've made concessions and issued decrees, but it seems like they still want to impose irrationality on the country, which we won't let them do," he said on local radio. "We have a duty to the country, and we're going to do it."

Even though the government has made some concessions, there aren't many signs that they and the protesters, who are led by the indigenous group CONAIE, will get along.

Before the two sides can talk about a list of 10 indigenous demands, such as lower fuel prices and a stop to oil and mining development, indigenous leaders want security forces to leave and special measures in six provinces to end.

Lasso has said that fertilisers will be subsidised, that bank debts will be forgiven, and that the budgets for health and education will go up. On Thursday, security forces left a cultural centre, which protesters were then able to use.

But overnight, there were more fights that made things worse. The CONAIE said it would meet on Friday to talk about how the government should respond to its demands.

The commander of the city's joint task force, Edwin Adatty, said that armed people attacked a military convoy that was trying to help truck drivers bring food and medicine into the capital city of Quito.

He said that 17 people were hurt and that three vehicles caught on fire.

He said, "We're not talking about a peaceful protest here; we're talking about planned and coordinated acts of violence."

Residents of the capital say that there isn't enough gas for homes and that supermarkets are running out of goods.

Since the protests started, the Interior Ministry has confirmed that four people have died, and the Health Ministry has said that two people died while waiting for an ambulance because of roadblocks.

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