It could be the end of eighteen days of high cost of living protests. Ecuador’s government and indigenous leaders signed an agreement Thursday, June 30, ending protests that have paralyzed the country’s capital, Quito, for more than two weeks. Developed under the mediation of the Catholic Church, this agreement provides for a reduction in the price of fuel by 15 cents of the dollar.

“We will continue the struggle, but here, according to the act we signed, we will suspend the movement” of protest, said Leonidas Iza, the president of the powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), shortly before signing the document.

Lifting of the state of emergency

“We have achieved the supreme value to which we all aspire: peace in our country. The strike is over. We now begin together the task of transforming this peace into progress, well-being and opportunity for all,” commented Canner President Guillermo Lasso in a message posted on Twitter.

The agreement provides in particular for the establishment of a negotiation committee, the end of blockades and demonstrations in the country, and the lifting of the state of emergency.

It also provides for the repeal and revision of two government decrees: the first on the extension of oil exploitation in the Amazon, the second on mining.

Thousands of people mobilized

Nearly fourteen thousand indigenous demonstrators mobilized across the country to protest against the rising cost of living and demand in particular a drop in the price of fuel, according to the police, who estimated their number at nearly ten thousand in the capital city.

Since the start of the demonstrations on June 13, the violence has left six people dead and more than six hundred people, civilians and members of the security forces, have been injured. According to observers, fifteen people were arrested. The capital was largely paralyzed and its access blocked by numerous roadblocks.

The dispute has also weighed heavily on the country’s economy, in particular on oil extraction. Prices rose sharply as a shortage of food and agricultural products began.