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News > Ecuador

Ecuador: Supposed 'Peace Zone' Looks Like A 'War Zone' in Quito

  • Images of the area around the National Assembly at 8:00 on Saturday, Quito, Ecuador, Oct. 12, 2019.

    Images of the area around the National Assembly at 8:00 on Saturday, Quito, Ecuador, Oct. 12, 2019. | Photo: @CarlaGteleSUR

Published 12 October 2019

Thousands of Indigenous people, workers and students continued protesting during the curfew yesterday's curfew. The bullet remains are historical records of the behavior of Ecuadorian security forces.

The social struggle did not abate in Ecuador despite attempts by the government to quell the protests on the tenth day of the demonstrations. During the early hours on Saturday, Ecuadorean olice fired tear gas and live ammo at the Indigenous people, farmers, workers and students who remained protesting near the National Assembly in Quito.


Ecuador: Riot Police Fire Tear Gas, Live Ammo at Protesters

Thousands of people from the Amazon region and the Andean highlands arrived on Friday to join demonstrations against the policy package “recommended” by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and implemented by President Lenin Moreno.

Despite the harsh conditions protesters are facing every day, Ecuadoreans woke up to witness the tenth consecutive day of protests against neoliberalism. 

"There is no going back," people shouted, as reported by citizens who became alternative journalists amidst other citizens who improvised themselves as paramedics.

“The military took out a white flag and protesters agreed to the truce. Repressive forces acted cowardly and attacked the people during the truce. When this happened many demonstrators were just having lunch, together with their children and the elderly,” the Ecuador's Popular Press Network (Rpp.ecuador) reported.

As social organizations have stressed, demonstrations are not only focused on the repeal of fuel price hikes. The Ecuadoreans have taken to the streets and blocked roads "until the IMF leaves the country," as an indigenous leader said on Friday afternoon.

Yesterday, at approximately 2:00 P.M., human rights defenders announced that the Interior Minister had promised to create a "Peace Zone," a Police-free area around universities so that protesters can move freely to receive food, water and medical assistance.

The promise was not fulfilled, as some areas in downtown Quito appear more like a war zone. Electrified bars placed around the National Assembly and bullet remains are historical records of what happened last night.​​​​​​​

Merciless repression until these hours of the morning [Saturday, October 12] in the surroundings of the House of Culture in Quito. There are children inside the building. The police deploy terror tactics.

The mainstream media continued with their information fence. Photos, videos or recordings about the repression, however, were viralized by citizens through social media networks.

By doing so, Ecuadorians were able to replace the absence of alternative radio stations, the most important of which have been shut down by authorities.

Ecuador is living right now, officially speaking, in a "State of Exception" and curfews begin at 8:00 P.M. each night.

"We have many injured," said Pedro Yangol, an Indigenous man who used his phone to register police repression on Saturday.​​​​​​​

There are no official figures for the number of people killed, injured or missing. However, partial data can be accessed by monitoring social networks.​​​​​​​

For instance, on Saturday morning, the Achuar Nation Federation official page published that Carlos Manchu, a member of the Shuar nation, which inhabits the Amazon rainforests, had died.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (Confeniae) said that two powerful explosions were heard in the vicinity of the National Assembly. Their sound wave was felt in the windows of homes located 5 kilometers away.​​​​​​​

Although there is no official information on the matter, Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo said that one of the explosions occurred because a domestic gas tank had exploded.

“Minutes ago, we heard a powerful explosion. They blew up a gas tank,” Romo tweeted, without providing concrete details of who the authors were.

On Saturday morning, the Ecumenical Human Rights Commission (Cedhu) said that Ecuador's riot police continued to repress protesters in the immediate vicinity of the National Assembly.

Entrances to the capital city are blocked. Streets have little traffic and are practically empty. Some official estimates indicate the presence of some forty thousand indigenous people in Quito.

The National Assembly President will host a meeting of all lawmakers next Monday in Guayaquil, the right-wing-controlled city where President Moreno moved the seat of government.

Private meanstream media are brodcasting Saturday morning programs, as scheduled, as usual.​​​​​​​ 

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