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Legend of the mediaProtesters sing in Quito: "United women will never be defeated!"

Protesters in Ecuador released 10 policemen who were held hostage during violent protests triggered by austerity measures.

Aboriginal protesters marched officers, including a woman, on a stage in Quito in front of a crowd.

Before being released, some officers were forced to carry the casket of an indigenous activist who was allegedly killed during the unrest.

President Lenín Moreno was forced to move the government out of the capital.

Protesters, led by Aboriginal groups, are demanding the return of fuel subsidies, eliminated by the government last week. Some called for the resignation of the president, who declared a national emergency of two months.

  • In pictures: Quito in crisis
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On Thursday, police were arrested in a Quito cultural center used by thousands of indigenous protesters as a base since they arrived in the city last weekend.

A few hours later, in an evening address, Interior Minister María Paula Romo said that they had been released, as well as about thirty journalists who were covering the night. incident and who were also prevented from leaving the building.

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Legend

The captive police were paraded in front of a crowd of thousands in Quito

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EPA

Legend

The coffin of Inocencio Tucumbí was taken to the center where the demonstrators gathered

Indigenous leaders – who complained about excessive police forces – claim that Inocencio Tucumbí, whose casket was taken to the center, died after being hit by a tear gas bomb fired by police during a protest on Wednesday. .

But Ms. Romo said that Tucumbí had died as a result of a fall, without giving further details. Three other people have died as a result of these disturbances so far, she said, adding that some 650 people had been arrested by the police.

President Moreno said he would not give up his post and, without presenting any evidence, accused his predecessor, Rafael Correa, and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro of plotting to overthrow him.

The United Nations has declared itself ready to act as a mediator after receiving a request from the government.

Rhetoric without compromise

By Will Grant, BBC correspondent in Latin America

The police detained by the protesters were forced onto a stage and were forced to remove their helmets, bulletproof vests and boots.

The officers looked visibly concerned as they paraded past an angry mob in which many were furious after several days of police violence following the protests.

President Moreno insisted that negotiations with indigenous leaders continue, but the rhetoric of the groups that took the police officers is uncompromising.

Some claiming nothing less than the resignation of the president, it seems that there will be more protests this weekend: "We will radicalize more forcefully," said an indigenous leader, Jaime Vargas, to the crowd. .

What is the background?

The protests began after the government announced the end of fuel subsidies as part of the public spending cuts agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in return for a loan. The agreement reached in March will allow Ecuador to borrow $ 4.2 billion (£ 3.4 billion).

Moreno said fuel subsidies, introduced in the 1970s at an annual cost of $ 1.3 billion, were no longer affordable. Their elimination is part of its plan to consolidate Ecuador's declining economy and ease the burden of its debt.

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Legend of the mediaFires and clashes as Quito plunges into chaos

Gas prices soared and thousands of people took to the streets. In recent days, they have erected barricades, stormed buildings and clashed with security forces, who tried to disperse the crowd with tear gas.

The protesters also entered some oil fields, which has an impact on the Andean nation's production, member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Indigenous-led demonstrations have overthrown three presidents in recent decades. Since the current unrest began, protesters have taken dozens of officers hostage in various parts of the country.