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(回答先: エクアドル5州に非常事態宣言、米との自由貿易交渉反対運動激化で（ロイター）【またひとつ中南米の反米ドミノ】 投稿者 gataro 日時 2006 年 3 月 22 日 17:39:14)
Ecuador calls emergency to quell Indian protest
Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:49 PM ET
By Carlos Andrade
QUITO, Ecuador (Reuters) - Ecuador declared a state of emergency in five central provinces on Tuesday to try to control renewed protests by thousands of Indians demanding the government quit U.S. free-trade talks this week.
Interior Minister Felipe Vega announced the measure after Indian peasants intensified blockades on key roads in at least eight highland regions in protests that have cost Ecuador millions in lost commerce since they began last week.
"The president took this decision after exhausting all other options for dialogue," Vega told reporters.
The state of emergency forbids public gatherings and marches and sets curfews. Troops earlier this week reinforced security along major highways leading into the capital.
The protests were the latest test for President Alfredo Palacio, a cardiologist with little political backing who says he will not halt the trade negotiations. A strike this month by workers at state company Petroecuador trimmed crude output.
Ecuadorean and U.S. officials will meet in Washington on Thursday for the trade talks. Ecuador's Andean neighbors, Colombia and Peru, have already signed deals.
Indian protesters fear the trade pact will damage their livelihoods and way of life. Since protests began nine days ago, indigenous leaders have threatened to take their fight to the capital but so far only small groups have reached Quito.
"We are going to continue with the protests," Gilberto Talahua, an Indian leader and organizer, told Reuters after the emergency announcement.
The government declared emergency in the highland provinces of Cotopaxi, Canar, Chimborazo, Imbabura and parts of Pichincha, where Quito is located.
HISTORY OF TURMOIL
Palacio, who came to office 10 months ago after Congress fired his predecessor, has faced a series of strikes and protests from provinces seeking more financing from the state before presidential elections in October.
Three Ecuadorean presidents have been forced out by turmoil in the unstable Andean country since 1997.
After centuries of discrimination by an elite, Indians organized to help overthrow President Jamil Mahuad in 2000. The movement has lost some momentum due to infighting, but is still a powerful voice for indigenous people.
Government officials said they were probing participation of foreign nongovernmental organizations in the demonstrations. Indians leaders deny charges their protests are funded by foreign governments or groups.
Speaking from Caracas, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dismissed suggestions from an Ecuadorean lawmaker that he was financing the simmering Indian protests.
Chavez, a socialist ally of Cuba who opposes U.S. free-trade deals, has become a focal point for many resurging left-wing movements in South America. He says his self-styled revolution counters U.S. policies. Washington accuses him of being a destabilizing influence.
"This is not the Venezuelan government. I believe this is the conscience of the people who have decided to live and be free," Chavez said referring to the protests.
Indians make up an estimated 30 percent of Ecuador's total population of 13 million.
(Additional reporting by Alexandra Valencia in Quito and Patrick Markey in Caracas)
© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.
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