Thousands protest in Ecuador against president

Opponents of the government of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa take part in a protest in Quito on November 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / RODRIGO BUENDIA

QUITO - Thousands of people marched Wednesday in Ecuador against the leftist government of President Rafael Correa, denouncing a move that would allow him to extend his rule beyond 2017.

Union members, students, teachers and indigenous peoples gathered in the capital Quito and other cities for the second march in two months in opposition to the Socialist leader.

In office since 2007, Correa was re-elected in February 2013 to a four-year term, the last he is currently allowed under the law.

However, in late October, Ecuador's Constitutional Court gave lawmakers the green light to set new rules on term limits that would allow Correa to extend his rule beyond 2017.

Around 3,000 protesters marched under police surveillance in Quito, following a September anti-government rally in which 34 officers were injured and 53 people taken into custody.

"Fear has gone and people are mobilized," signs read Wednesday.

"If Ecuador wants unlimited re-elections, it has to be done through a constituent assembly," Mesias Tatamuez, president of an association of unions, told AFP.

However, Correa has remained popular in many parts of Ecuador thanks in part to social and infrastructure programs financed by the country's vast oil sector.

The demonstrators also protested a package of labour reforms introduced by Correa on Saturday, such as the elimination of short-term work contracts and trimming the wage gap between employers and workers.