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One Dead, 49 Injured in Ecuador Protests


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Ecuadorean police clashed with Amazon Indians protesting new laws they fear will increase oil drilling, leaving one person dead and at least 49 others injured.

Authorities say the violence occurred Wednesday in Morona Santiago province, a major oil producing region. Officials say the clash came after three days of demonstrations in which indigenous groups had blocked roads in the jungle region to protest laws they say would encourage more oil drilling.

The officials say one protester was killed and 40 police and nine protesters were injured.

At a news conference late Wednesday, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa blamed the protesters for the clash, calling them tremendously violent armed groups that waited for police with shotguns and rifles.

The president also repeated his call for dialogue with the indigenous people to address their concerns.

For years, indigenous communities in Ecuador have accused oil companies of damaging the environment and the health of community members while operating petroleum facilities.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP.

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