QUITO, ECUADOR – Jose Pilataxi danced around a fire in the centre of the Ecuadorian capital Quito on Sunday night, celebrating with thousands of other protesters the cancelation of an austerity package that sparked violent protests across the country for 11 days and brought the economy to a standstill.
“I’m very very happy for the whole country, and for having achieved the objective that we came for,” said Pilaxi, who travelled to Quito on Thursday from the province of Chimborazo to partake in the mass protests in the capital.
Celebrations lasted long into the night in a park known as El Arbolito, where just hours earlier protesters and police were engaged in a tense standoff with tear gas and rocks being launched through the air.
Indigenous leaders called off the protests on Sunday night, after President Lenin Moreno agreed to withdraw the controversial reforms, which included the elimination of decades-long fuel subsidies that saw the price of diesel more than double over night.
Moreno signed a decree on Monday, officially repealing the cuts and reverting fuel prices back to their previous levels.
The president also agreed to create a special commission made up of indigenous leaders and other social organisations to come up with new belt-tightening measures to address the country’s deficit.
The previous measures “directly affected the poorest of Ecuador, and they shouldn’t be touched”, said Andres Tapia, indigenous Kichwa leader and communications director for the Amazon Indigenous Confederation, CONFENAIE.
Photo credit: Dolores Ochoa/AP