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The protestors started walking towards the Presidental Palace. However, when entering the city’s colonial narrow streets, they were violently met by riot police.
“Not even one less right” was the sentiment and chanting that thousands of Ecuadoreans intoned on April 16, during a massive anti-government protest in the capital, Quito, against President Lenin Moreno’s neoliberal policies.
The protest was called upon by different sectors of society, such as workers from Radio Pichincha Universal - a public radio station that was recently pulled from the air; current legislators and sympathizers of former President Rafael Correa's Citizens Revolution party from all over the country, independent collectives, disgruntled citizens and dozens of young people wearing masks from the international group Anonymous, in protest of Julian Assange’s arrest.
"Today we are here against the misgovernment that exists, as well as (Lenin’s) betrayal of the government plan for which he was elected. Ecuador has been sold to the IMF, taking measures against the Ecuadorean people," Provincial coordinator for Loja of the Citizen Revolution Movement, Marck Iñiguez said during the march.
The protestors started walking at around 16:00 local time in the direction of the historic old city, where the Presidental Palace is located. However, when entering the city’s colonial narrow streets, they were violently met by riot police.
An independent media collective, KolectiVoz, reported on a Twitter live video feed of police repression, who were using tear gas and batons against demonstrators. Other social media users published images and videos of riot police advancing against protestors and closing off streets. Two collectives denounced that their collaborator Vladimir Obando was briefly, arbitrarily detained by National Police while covering the demonstration.
“The government's orders are ‘shut up and attack those who demonstrate against us.’ Repression is what we live now, but we can not be silenced and stopped; we are the people and together we will recover our homeland,” left-wing lawmaker Jota Lloret declared during the rally.
Las órdenes del Gobierno es “Callar y atacar a quienes se manifiestes en su contra” Esos son los nuevos “Aires de libertad”. La represión es lo que se vive ahora pero no nos podrán callar y menos detener, somos el pueblo y juntos recuperamos nuestra patria. #16ANiUnDerechoMenospic.twitter.com/zteh7c3VeB
This latest demonstration comes as Moreno’s administration has openly aligned with the U.S. backed right-wing governments from Latin America. In the last couple of months, oil prices went up, unemployment rates are at a record high, and just recently the government signed a US$4.2 billion dollar deal with the IMF, announcing that a set of austerity measures will be implemented starting 2019.
"He has sold the country to the oligarchy, the bankers have their media outlets back, and all natural resources are sold to the highest bidder. We know that the IMF loan will bring many consequences," said one of the protesters while holding a banner that reads: "Out with Moreno / Out with the traitor.”