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News > Ecuador

IACHR Urges Ecuador to End Protest Crackdown, Supports Talks

  • A demonstrator wearing an Anonymous mask holds the flag of the city of Quito during a protest against Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno's austerity measures, in Quito, Ecuador October 12, 2019

    A demonstrator wearing an Anonymous mask holds the flag of the city of Quito during a protest against Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno's austerity measures, in Quito, Ecuador October 12, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 October 2019

The statement came in response to President Lenin Moreno's decision to declare a curfew and deploying the military in the capital Quito. 

The United Nations Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (UNICHR) issued a statement Saturday in support of talks efforts between leaders of the Indigenous communities and social organizations and the Ecuadorean government amid massive protests and clashes over the past week.

The government responded to the weekend protests by declaring a curfew in the capital city of Quito, and "militarizing" the entire city. 


'Most Protesters Were Coming for Me': Moreno on Leaving Capital

The IACHR “supports the start of direct dialogue between communities and indigenous peoples, centered in @CONAIE_Ecuador and the president @Lenin, dialogue that must be governed by transparency, end of repression and acts of violence, and respect for human rights in #Ecuador,” the organization said in a tweet Saturday afternoon. 

“The @CIDH Calls on the State to prevent security forces and protesters from clashing during protests in #Ecuador. The right to protest must be exercised peacefully and the police must not make disproportionate use of public force.”

The statement came after Saturday saw some of the most intense clashes between security forces and protesters near the country’s National Assembly, more than a week into major protests led by Indigenous organizations and social movements across the country who are rejecting the government’s economic reforms that come in accordance with its agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Saturday also saw march in all parts of the city—from the historic center where anti-government protests are typically localized and Indigenous-led—to the more mestizo and afluent parts of the city in the north. 

A day earlier, just after Moreno invited the Indigenous groups and other civil society groups to “dialogue” for the first time since massive protests began against the government's austerity measures, the military and National Police bombarded the peaceful protesters with live ammunition and tear gas who had gathered in front of the National Assembly to support the beginning of the talks.

Since the demonstrations began, over 1,000 people have been detained nationwide, with 76 percent of them being released because they had "committed no crime whatsoever," according to the oversight state agency, Public Defense.

The unrest in Ecuador started last week after the government announced a new neoliberal economic package that eliminated overnight a 40-year-old fuel subsidy.

Transport workers then went on a nationwide strike for two days before being joined by several Indigenous movements in the country who began marching to the capital in support of the strike and in rejection of the reforms, while calling for the president's resignation. 

While the transport strike was halted after the government agreed to increase public transport prices, the Indigenous movements and social organizations around the country vowed to continue their protests, prompting Moreno to decree a transfer of the seat of the government from the capital Quito to costal Guayaquil city on Sunday. 

At least six people have been killed so far in the protests according to the country's Public Defender's office. 

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