October 14, 2019 / 5:53 PM / a month ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Ecuador's Moreno readies repeal of fuel subsidy cuts as protesters head home

(Corrects first graph to show that the decree and not the subsidies were backed by the IMF)

By Alexandra Valencia

QUITO, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno said on Monday that he would repeal an IMF-backed decree that slashed fuel subsidies “in coming hours,” confirming that he had given into a key demand of protesters who had spent nearly two weeks agitating against it.

Moreno added that a new decree would be issued to ensure that resources go to those who most need it, though he did not specify when. “We have opted for peace,” Moreno said on Twitter.

The comment follows a deal struck with indigenous protesters leaders late on Sunday that ended demonstrations that had rocked the highland capital of Quito and forced Moreno’s government to relocate to safer ground on the coast.

Indigenous protesters who had streamed into Quito from Andean and Amazonian provinces to demand Moreno reinstate the fuel subsidies piled into buses that departed the city on Monday.

“We’re going back to our territories,” said Inti Killa, an indigenous man from the Amazonian region of Napo. “We’ve shown that the union and conviction of the people is a volcano that nobody can stop.”

University students, municipal workers and other residents of Quito cleared burned tires and cobblestones that had been torn from streets of the capital’s downtown district as the smell of tear gas hung in the air.

The protests had grown increasingly chaotic in recent days as the government launched a militarized crackdown to stop extremists whom it blamed for infiltrating the protests and wreaking havoc on the city.

In recent days, authorities reported the office of the comptroller’s office, a local TV station and military vehicles had been set on fire. (Reporting By Alexandra Valencia, Additional Reporting and Writing By Mitra Taj; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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