Ecuador's President Lenín Moreno and indigenous leaders celebrated a deal struck late Sunday to cancel a disputed austerity package and end nearly two weeks of protests that have paralyzed the economy and left seven dead. Under the agreement, Moreno will withdraw the International Monetary Fund-backed package known as Decree 883 that included a sharp rise in fuel costs. Indigenous leaders, in turn, will call on their followers to end protests and street blockades. "Comrades, this deal is a compromise on both sides," Moreno said. "The indigenous mobilization will end and Decree 883 will be lifted." The two sides will work together to develop a new package of measures to cut government spending, increase revenue, and reduce Ecuador's unsustainable budget deficits and public debt.
In the park that was the epicenter of the protesters, demonstrators armed with wooden sticks and improvised shields shouted: "We did it!" In a shift from the heated language of the last 10 days of protests, each side at the nationally televised negotiations praised the other's willingness to talk as they outlined their positions in the first hour before a short break, the AP reports. Other indigenous demands included higher taxes on the wealthy and the firing of the interior and defense ministers over their handling of the protests. Caravans of cars roamed the streets early Monday honking in celebration, passengers shouting, banging pots, and waving Ecuadorian flags.
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