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Ecuador's President Dismisses Indian Protesters

Ecuadorean President Alfredo Palacio is vowing not to give in to protests by Indians demanding the government end free trade talks with the United States.

In a nationally televised address late Wednesday night, Mr. Palacio described the protests as an attempt to divide the country.

The protests began Monday with blockades of roads and highways.

Protesters say the trade deal will put them at a disadvantage with U.S. farmers and further disrupt Indian culture.

The rallies have taken a toll on businesses, disrupting food deliveries and causing price increases. Authorities also say at least 16 people have been arrested following the rallies and a dozen others injured.

The protests have already caused dissension within Mr. Palacio's government. Interior Minister Alfredo Castillo resigned Wednesday after making comments suggesting the protests could bring down the government.

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