Ecuador’s military has extended curfews and transit restrictions throughout the country following more than a week of violent protests.
Ten days of clashes have followed President Lenín Moreno’s move to end state fuel subsidies – part of a package of economic reforms drawn up in the wake of a $4.2 billion financing deal with the International Monetary Fund.
The joint command of Ecuador’s military announced that restrictions to transit, which were originally announced on October 8, will be extended to 24 hours a day, in a televised statement Saturday.
The move came four days after Moreno issued an executive decree that limited transit in areas close to government buildings and installations, during the nighttime hours.
“With this measure, the armed forces and national police are authorized to take control of public spaces and places of association and gathering, search people and vehicles to reestablish public order and security,” the command said.
Meanwhile, the Ecuadorean government has agreed to hold a first round of talks with indigenous groups in the country on Sunday in the capital Quito, the United Nations in Ecuador said in a statement on Saturday.
The group leading the protests, the Confederation of Indigenous Nations of Ecuador, has agreed to participate in dialogue with the government.
“We insist on the need of a direct and open dialogue to discuss the revision or cancellation of Decree 883,” the group said in a statement on Saturday.
Pope Francis offered his prayers to those affected by the violence in Ecuador on Sunday.
“Together with all the members of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region, especially those from Ecuador, I follow with concern what is happening in the last few weeks in that country,” the pontiff said before weekly Angelus prayers.
“I entrust it to common prayer and to the intercession of the new saints, and I join in the sorrow for the dead, the wounded and the missing people. I encourage you to seek social peace, with particular attention to the most vulnerable populations and to human rights,” the Pope added.
CNN’s Nicola Ruotolo, Helena de Moura and Jack Guy contributed to this report.