Thousands march over dissolved Ecuador teacher union

Quito (AFP) - Thousands of demonstrators marched in Quito and other Ecuadoran cities Thursday against the socialist government of Rafael Correa and its dissolution of a public teachers' guild.

Labor union members and teachers turned out in Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca to denounce the Ministry of Education dissolving the National Union of Educators (UNE), which was created in 1950.

The ministry opted to break up the union, which says it has 100,000 teachers, for failing to register itself since 2013, in violation of regulations.

Teachers marched under the slogan "The UNE lives, Correa goes away," and carried posters that read "No more dismissals of union leaders, no more persecution of teachers."

The interior ministry said on Twitter that police were stationed to guard civilian safety.

The Quito march ended peacefully with a rally near the presidential palace in the capital's colonial center, although Correa -- a leftist economist in office since 2007 -- was in the province of Azuay to inaugurate a hydroelectric plant.

Hit by the falling oil prices, the appreciation of the dollar and the devaluation of currencies in neighboring Colombia and Peru, Correa's government has faced a barrage of protests, including one in 2015 that saw thousands rally against a proposed inheritance tax increase that the president ultimately shelved.

When Ecuador's Congress voted in 2015 to lift presidential term limits, protesters attacked police with spears, clubs and homemade rockets.

Many indigenous Ecuadorans are also angry over their lack of control over water resources, education and land.