Protesters in Ecuador fought a running battle with security forces Wednesday in a second day of violent demonstrations over a fuel price hike that forced the government to suspend most of the country's deliveries of crude.

Demonstrators march into Quito to bring their protest against a sharp rise in fuel prices to the capital Demonstrators march into Quito to bring their protest against a sharp rise in fuel prices to the capital Photo: AFP / RODRIGO BUENDIA

Ecuador has been rocked by days of demonstrations after increases of up to 120 percent in fuel prices came into force on October 3 Ecuador has been rocked by days of demonstrations after increases of up to 120 percent in fuel prices came into force on October 3 Photo: AFP / RODRIGO BUENDIA

The violence broke out as thousands of people representing indigenous groups, farmers, students and labor unions marched on a square in Quito's historic center near the government headquarters.

President Lenin Moreno scrapped fuel subsidies as part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to obtain loans despite Ecuador's high public debt President Lenin Moreno scrapped fuel subsidies as part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to obtain loans despite Ecuador's high public debt Photo: AFP / RODRIGO BUENDIA

Indigenous people and peasants arrive in Quito following days of protests against the sharp rise in fuel prices sparked by the government's decision to scrap subsidies Indigenous people and peasants arrive in Quito following days of protests against the sharp rise in fuel prices sparked by the government's decision to scrap subsidies Photo: AFP / RODRIGO BUENDIA

Masked demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails and paving stones. Clouds of tear gas and palls of black smoke from burning tires rose over the colonial downtown area, a UNESCO world heritage site.

Demonstrators outside the national assembly in Quito during clashes with riot police Demonstrators outside the national assembly in Quito during clashes with riot police Photo: AFP / Martin BERNETTI

After clashes broke out in the area Tuesday, the government of President Lenin Moreno posted security forces to keep the march from reaching the plaza.

Angry demonstrators shout slogans outside the national assembly in Quito during clashes Tuesday with security forces Angry demonstrators shout slogans outside the national assembly in Quito during clashes Tuesday with security forces Photo: AFP / Martin BERNETTI

Days of protests have followed a sharp rise in fuel prices sparked by a government decision to scrap subsidies Days of protests have followed a sharp rise in fuel prices sparked by a government decision to scrap subsidies Photo: AFP / Martin BERNETTI

Protesters on Wednesday broke off from the main procession and hurled rocks at riot police, who fought back with volleys of tear gas and water cannon.

Security forces rush to erect a metal fence during clashes with demonstrators near the national assembly in Quito Security forces rush to erect a metal fence during clashes with demonstrators near the national assembly in Quito Photo: AFP / Martin BERNETTI

Several people were injured in the clashes.

Demonstrators burn branches and tyres outside the national assembly in Quito during clashes with security forces on October 8, 2019 Demonstrators burn branches and tyres outside the national assembly in Quito during clashes with security forces on October 8, 2019 Photo: AFP / Martin BERNETTI

A protester lies on the ground as demonstrators are dispersed away from the national assembly by riot police A protester lies on the ground as demonstrators are dispersed away from the national assembly by riot police Photo: AFP / Martin BERNETTI

The protesters are demanding that Moreno reinstate fuel subsidies that were rescinded after $4.2 billion in loans was agreed with the IMF.

Demonstrators are dispersed away from the national assembly by riot police using tear gas, in Quito on October 8, 2019 Demonstrators are dispersed away from the national assembly by riot police using tear gas, in Quito on October 8, 2019 Photo: AFP / Martin BERNETTI

"Without a doubt, this is going to be solved very soon," Moreno said in a video broadcast on state television following the day's violence.

Photo: AFPTV / Ivan PISARENKO

Demonstrators clash with riot police as thousands march against Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno's decision to slash fuel subsidies, in Quito on October 9, 2019 Demonstrators clash with riot police as thousands march against Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno's decision to slash fuel subsidies, in Quito on October 9, 2019 Photo: AFP / Martin BERNETTI

But indigenous leader Salvador Quishpe said the "demonstration is ongoing, it has not ended."

Demonstrators pose for a picture during clashes with riot police in Quito Demonstrators pose for a picture during clashes with riot police in Quito Photo: AFP / Martin BERNETTI

Thousands meanwhile gathered in the port city of Guayaquil some 170 miles (270 kilometers) southwest of Quito, in protest at the demonstrations in the capital.

A sea of protesters converge on a plaza in Ecuador's capital Quito on October 9, 2019 A sea of protesters converge on a plaza in Ecuador's capital Quito on October 9, 2019 Photo: AFP / Rodrigo BUENDIA

Moreno cut fuel subsidies as part of an agreement for a 4.2 bln dlr IMF loan Moreno cut fuel subsidies as part of an agreement for a 4.2 bln dlr IMF loan Photo: AFP / Martin BERNETTI

"Democracy will not fall in the streets of Guayaquil!" the city's mayor Cynthia Viteri told the crowd, most of whom were dressed in white in a pro-peace display.

The protests are being led by indigenous leaders, farmers and labor unions The protests are being led by indigenous leaders, farmers and labor unions Photo: AFP / Martin BERNETTI

"Our country's economy has to move forward," said 60-year-old shopkeeper Patricia Castillo, defending the government's fuel price hikes.

Demonstrators clash with riot police in Quito, as thousands march against Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno's decision to slash fuel subsidies Demonstrators clash with riot police in Quito, as thousands march against Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno's decision to slash fuel subsidies Photo: AFP / Rodrigo BUENDIA

Protesters march in protest against President Lenin Moreno's decision to slash fuel subsidies Protesters march in protest against President Lenin Moreno's decision to slash fuel subsidies Photo: AFP / Rodrigo BUENDIA

Oil industry hit

Discussions with leaders of the powerful indigenous umbrella organization CONAIE also took place in Guayaquil, where Moreno moved his government operations Monday due to the ongoing disturbances in the capital.

Riot police confront demonstrators during clashes in Quito Riot police confront demonstrators during clashes in Quito Photo: AFP / Rodrigo BUENDIA

"There is dialogue with the brother indigenous peoples who unfortunately have needs," Moreno said of the groups which make up a quarter of the population of the country's 17.3 million people.

A demonstrator throws a Molotov cocktail at riot police during clashes in Quito A demonstrator throws a Molotov cocktail at riot police during clashes in Quito Photo: AFP / Rodrigo BUENDIA

Photo: AFPTV / Ivan PISARENKO

He also offered to free up resources for those hit hard by the rise in fuel prices.

Photo: AFPTV / Carlos ESPINOSA

The unrest threatened to inflict wider damage on an already weakened economy.

The energy ministry announced it was shutting down one of the country's two domestic oil pipelines, effectively suspending two-thirds of its distribution of crude.

"Due to this shutdown, we are analyzing the possibility of declaring force majeure," to avoid the country incurring penalties for postponing crude shipments, the ministry said in a statement.

Protesters seized three oil facilities in the Amazon earlier this week.

Ecuador, which exited the OPEC international oil cartel last week citing economic constraints, produced more than 500,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) -- which was worth some $4.6 billion in exports in the first six months of the year.

However, Wednesday's shutdown accounts for 68 percent of its oil output, the ministry said, adding that the protests had cost $12.8 million in lost production to date.

Demonstrations broke out after increases of up to 120 percent in fuel prices came into force on October 3.

They have left one civilian dead and 122 people injured, with 766 detained, according to the latest figures from the authorities and the Red Cross.

'No coup'

Moreno has accused his predecessor and ex-ally Rafael Correa along with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro of an "attempted coup d'etat."

"The evidence points precisely to him (Correa) as a key player," Moreno insisted in an interview with CNN Wednesday.

In Washington, a senior US official backed the allegations and voiced hope that all sides in Ecuador would sort out their differences peacefully.

"Unfortunately the Correa people with their friends in Venezuela and Cuba and so on are provoking demonstrations and some degree of violence there," the official said on condition of anonymity.

Maduro, a leftist firebrand whom Washington is seeking to oust, has denounced allegations of involvement as absurd.

Moreno has drawn support, however, from seven Latin American countries -- including Argentina, Brazil and Colombia -- that, in a joint statement, rejected any effort by Maduro and his allies to "destabilize" Ecuador.

"There's no coup here. Conflicts in democracy are resolved at the polls," the Belgium-based Correa said in a video published on social media.