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Police, Journalists Held by Ecuador Protesters

Police officers, right, that were being held by indigenous groups wait to be handed over to representatives of the United Nations in Quito, Oct. 10, 2019.

The weeklong protests in Ecuador took an alarming turn Thursday when indigenous protesters took several police officers hostage and paraded them before an angry crowd in the capital Quito.

The spectacle at the capital's cultural center came on the eighth day of violent protests over President Lenin Moreno's austerity measures that included scrapping a fuel subsidy.

Indigenous groups, leaders of the protests that also include students and union workers, confirmed that they were holding the officers but said they would not be harmed.

The protesters are also not allowing about 20 journalists covering the news at the cultural center to leave.

One indigenous leader and four others have been killed in the clashes, the public defender's office said Thursday.

Moreno, who moved his government out of the capital earlier this week, has returned and offered to hold talks with the opposition. But he has also said he would not reverse the austerity measures that are a part of a $4.2 billion funding deal he reached with the International Monetary Fund.

Indigenous leaders have condemned the deal, saying it will only deepen income inequality for the minority.