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Activists in Ecuador took to the streets in large numbers to protest against recent cases of rape, femicide, and xenophobia against Venezuelans.
Thousands of feminists and activists gathered at Tribuna de Los Shyris in Quito Monday to protest against the brutal rape of a woman and the femicide of another in Ecuador. The march also spoke out against the xenophobia that broke out against Venezuelans in Ibarra after the killing of a young woman.
"Martha" (not the victim’s real name) went out on Jan. 13 to celebrate her birthday at a restaurant in the north of the capital city of Quito. Around 5:00 pm, the victim was found in her own blood, naked and sedated in the bathroom of that restaurant when the owner went in to open the doors after having gone out to get food ingredients.
In another case, a 22-year-old woman Diana Carolina Ramirez, who was 4 months pregnant, was stabbed to death by her boyfriend after having been held hostage by him for over an hour around 11 p.m. local time, leading her at knifepoint through the streets of downtown Ibarra, a town few hours away from Quito.
The event then triggered a spontaneous late-night march among the citizenry. Inflamed by xenophobic tendencies, a group of townspeople marched to the town’s central parks where some Venezuelan migrants are sometimes known to sleep and burned it to the ground along with any belongings they could find. They then chased the frightened Venezuelans through the streets of the city, many of whom needed police protection.
The Monday marched protested against both the rape and femicide case and also against witch-hunt of Venezuelans in Ibarra.
The protesters wanted people and the government to know that the reason for the femicide of Diana is “machismo” i.e, patriarchal society and not Venezuelan migrants, many of whom had to flee Ibarra.
The President of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, taking a tack from United States President Donald Trump who is known to blame crime in the U.S. on immigrants, issued a statement Sunday, linking Venezuelan migrants with general crime, “I've allowed for the immediate formation of a taskforce to assess the legal situation of Venezuelans on the streets, in the workplace, and on the border. We are analyzing the possibility of creating special permits to enter the country…”
The demonstrators demanded that the state takes immediate action against femicide which claimed lives of 600 women in the last four years according to the data of Ecumenical Commission for Human Rights.
People carried posters saying, "Machismo kills, xenophobia also."
Anais Cordova, member of the collective "Vivas Nos Queremos" said, “The violence is sexist, and that is what we must fight," adding that in 2018, 88 women were murdered.
She also said that violence has no nationality. They are present everywhere and must be eliminated.
The protesters marched towards the Attorney General’s office where they gave the slogan: "They kill us and they rape us and the State does nothing. Ni Una Menos (Not one less)".
Marches also took place all over the country in different cities, namely, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Machala, etc.