Thousands of Ecuadoreans marched in the country's capital city of Quito Thursday to condemn a series of economic, social and foreign policy decisions taken by the government of President Lenin Moreno. Among the policies, which came under harsh criticism, were the government's austerity measures, an increase in the price of gasoline; tax measures, which offered debt forgiveness for wealthy individuals and companies; and Moreno's closeness with the United States government on foreign and domestic policy.
The protests, which called for greater attention to be paid to the impact of government policy on citizens and workers in the public sector, were organized by the Citizen's Revolution movement, an offshoot of ruling party Alianza Pais, that remains loyal to former President Rafael Correa. The protesters condemned Moreno's betrayal of the party's core ideology and the adoption of a political agenda commonly associated with Ecuador's right-wing political parties.
Ecuador's worsening economic climate, the government's pledge to renew military cooperation with the U.S., the murder of an Afro-Ecuadorean by state security forces, and the government's response to an international ruling favoring Chevron-Texaco have also led to the fomenting of distrust in government policy and the mobilization of groups, who have traditionally declared no political affiliation.
"I have come because of the discomfort that persists in Ecuador due to Moreno's policies. He betrayed those who voted for him. ... I am here not with a political party, but as a citizen who is fighting for his rights," Mauricio Rubio told teleSUR.
Lenin Moreno was elected with a political platform based on the continuation of his predecessor's policies. Shortly after he was sworn in, Moreno withdrew support for longstanding government programs and policies and aligned more closely with the Alianza Pais' political opposition.
The police estimated 5,000 people to have participated in the march.
During the march, participants carried signs calling Lenin Moreno a traitor and demanding his resignation. They also called for an end to the U.S. military presence in the country and cooperation with state security forces.
"Forgiveness for tax evaders: US$4.5 billion. Assault against the people" and "Ecuador loves life and peace. Get out, gringos. Enough war" were among the complaints and demands.
Many also carried images of Correa and decried what they call the "political persecution" against him. Correa, who lives in Belgium, is currently facing a preventative detention order for having allegedly ordered the kidnapping of an opposition legislator in 2013.
The Moreno government sought an Interpol red notice against Correa, but it wasn't approved.