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  • The radio station belongs to the provincial government of Pichincha and its prefecture.

    The radio station belongs to the provincial government of Pichincha and its prefecture. | Photo: Pichincha Universal

Published 8 October 2019

The police confiscated the radio’s transmitting equipment with a warrant, as the state’s prosecutors claim the radio broke the law by “inciting unrest."

Ecuadorean public radio Pichincha Universal denounced its signal has been pulled off the air and equipment was confiscated, as police raided the radio station Tuesday afternoon amid extensive coverage of the anti-government protests.

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“We reject this intervention. We’ve just been informing the public. I strongly reject this attitude,” Washington Yepez, one of the radio’s main presenter said, urging “people to come to defend their right for information.”

The police confiscated the radio’s transmitting equipment with a warrant, as the state’s prosecutors claim the radio broke the law by “inciting unrest,” thus violating art. 348 of the Criminal Code.

I alerted this morning that we feared the worst: Pichincha Universal has just been raided. With the state of exception, they already took away the rights of assembly and circulation. Now they are closing the media. What is the next step?
 

Since Monday night, the FM radio frequency has presented multiple disruptions in different parts of the city. Reports from listeners ensure that the tuning of the 95.3FM signal has registered interference.

The radio station belongs to the provincial government of Pichincha and its prefecture. 

On March 24 midterm elections, Paola Pabon, of former President Rafael Correa’s political party, won the prefecture, a coincidence that has brought up questions of the motivations behind the signal disruption.

Back on April 4, the state-owned TV station Gamavision cut the power supply to the transmission equipment of the radio.

Over the last six days, massive protests have erupted across the country to protest against the neoliberal economic measures announced by President Lenin Moreno last week. 

In a defiant national television address on Monday evening, the Ecuadorean president announced that he was moving the government's seat to Guayaquil, a city which has been the traditional trench of the far-right and is located near the navy's main barracks.

Accompanied by the military top brass and the Defense Minister, Moreno indicated that he would not back down on the fuel price hike in the face of what he called a leftist "destabilization" plan.

Although the government had fled to Guayaquil for refuge, Quito remained occupied by thousands of demonstrators at dawn on Tuesday. Activities were not being carried out as usual and there was no regular public or private transport up to noon. ​​​​​​​

According to official figures, over 510 protesters have been arrested by Monday. However, the number of injured and dead have not been announced yet, although social media users have reported at least three people killed as a result of demonstration-related events.​​​​​​​

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