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  • Demonstrators hold flags during a protest against Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno's austerity measures in Quito, Ecuador, October 9, 2019.

    Demonstrators hold flags during a protest against Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno's austerity measures in Quito, Ecuador, October 9, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 October 2019

Although local media is avoiding reporting on the consequences of the "state of exception," social networks managed to break the silence on unfolding unrest.

After resting for a few hours during the early hours of Wednesday, Ecuador’s workers, students, farmers, Indigenous peoples, senior citizens, mothers and even their children resumed demonstrations to protest against President Lenin Moreno.

On Tuesday night, the protests did not subside despite the curfew and the "state of exception" whereby the authorities want to contain social unrest.

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In Quito, the capital city, streets remained empty only a few hours before dawn, while the Indigenous activists slept at college campuses where "solidarity camps" were set up to host them.

For seven days in a row, Ecuadoreans are protesting against policies seeking fiscal austerity, labor liberalization, dismissal of workers and income reduction. Unlike what the private media are holding, the fight is not just against fuel price hikes. It never was. ​​​​​

The Ecuadorean government is implementing such policies to comply with conditions from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an institution that will lend US$4.2 billion to this Andean country.

"What the government did is give a prize to the country's big banks and capitalists and, at the same time, a great punishment to the poor," the Workers' United Front (FUT) president Mesia Tatamuez said.

"We call everyone who is against the IMF, which is the other culprit in the economic crisis, to join the nationwide strike."

On Tuesday night the Moreno administration publicly admitted it had accepted the mediation of the United Nations, the Catholic Church and university authorities to establish an immediate dialogue with Indigenous organizations.

Almost simultaneously with this announcement, however, the Ecuadorean president confirmed he will not eliminate economic measures or resign.

Meanwhile, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), which maintains at least 6,000 people protesting in Quito, warned that the Moreno administration is behaving as if it were "a military dictatorship."

While Private media are avoiding reporting on the aftermath of the state of exception, social networks managed to break the silence on unfolding unrest.

Using hashtags such as #EcuadorSOS, #CercoMediatico or #paroenecuador, Ecuadoreans reported worrying possible human rights violations.

Among them are irregular detention of people in police headquarters, detention of Indigenous protesters at the National Congress basement, issuance of warrant orders against leftist politicians, and launching of tear gas inside health facilities and other public facilities.

“More than 80 people were arrested in Quito and illegally transferred to the Police Intervention and Rescue Group (GIR) facilities,” the Regional Human Rights Advisory Foundation (INREDH) tweeted and presented images of the arrested people lying on their stomachs while police officers watched them.

Former Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño, to whom Mexico granted asylum due to the political persecution carried out against him during the current government, joined the citrisim against Moreno and saying that he must “repeal economic measures, apologize for his ineptitude”, resign from his position and call on lawmakers to submit their resignations as well.

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