General strike against President Correa nearly paralyzes Ecuador capital; highways blocked

A general strike by diverse groups upset with President Rafael Correa has virtually paralyzed Ecuador's capital, provincial cities and stretches of the Panamerican highway.

Protesters blocked roads beginning early Thursday with tree trunks, rocks and burning tires.

Many object to pending legislation that would permit Correa's indefinite re-election. Indigenous groups are upset by the leftist economist's refusal to consult them on mining and oil exploration on traditional lands.

Ecuador is heavily dependent on oil revenues and Correa has faced mounting protests since a plunge in crude prices forced him to impose cost-cutting measures, including new taxes.

Deputy Interior Minister Diego Fuentes said before the protest that people who blocked streets would be arrested.

Correa was first elected in 2006. His third term ends in 2017.