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Ecuador Continuing Efforts to End Oil Protest


Officials in Ecuador are continuing efforts to negotiate an end to violent protests that have shut down a major oil pipeline and threatened the country's crucial petroleum industry.

Government officials held talks with protesters late Wednesday in Napo province in the Amazon.

Earlier, Ecuador President Alfredo Palacio declared a state of emergency in the province after soldiers fired on protesters who forced interruptions in the country's oil exports.

At least five people, including two policemen, were wounded in the clashes at the Sardines oil-pumping station (about 100 kilometers southeast of the capital, Quito), which feeds a privately-owned pipeline.

The protesters shut the station down on Tuesday, calling for the government to fund the construction of new roads and a new airport.

Meanwhile, officials say 24 oil workers being held hostage inside the Sardines pumping station managed to escape unharmed

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.