Ecuadorian president Guillermo Lasso has militarized the country to face protestors. In the photo soldiers confront demonstrators in the south of Quito. Photo: Twitter/@EjercitoECU.
Caracas, Jun 21, 2022 (OrinocoTribune.com)—Protests in Ecuador are gaining strength and momentum daily, and are now beginning to resemble those held in 2019 against former President Lenín Moreno. Within eight days, mobilizations have continued to grow, while the government has moved to militarize the areas where demonstrations occur.
The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), which has been leading the national mobilization that began on June 13, is asking that the government reduce fuel prices, address unemployment, regulate the prices of farm products, and fight crime, among other requests. President Guillermo Lasso decreed a state of emergency “due to serious internal disturbances” in the provinces of Cotopaxi, Pichincha, and Imbabura.
One week after the start of the demonstrations, the first death in the Andean country has been reported. As reported by Mision Verdad, a person fell into a ravine in his attempt to reach Quito, where Indigenous movements have concentrated demonstrations.
The commander of the Metropolitan District of Quito, Wilson Pavón, stated to local journalists that “these cases are isolated and accidental,” and emphasized that “it has nothing to do with the activities that the National Police was carrying out in that area.”
Pavón explained that the deceased is a 22-year-old man who died as a result of injuries caused by a heavy fall. Along with him, two other people who accompanied him also fell and were seriously injured, in the Collas sector, north of Quito, on Monday at 9:30 p.m. local time.
On the other hand, at a press conference the Alliance of Organizations for Human Rights reported that the death occurred when a police contingent tried to stop a group of protesters who were trying to enter Quito from the northern province of Imbabura. Their statement noted that the country has become increasingly militarized in an attempt to prevent demonstrations and dissent against the neoliberal policies of President Guillermo Lasso.
According to spokesmen for the Alliance, the victims of the fall were fleeing from tear gas fired by the security forces. Currently, the army is defending the government palace in Quitó, the capital, during daily protests. Security forces installed fences around the perimeter of Carondelet Palace, fearing that tensions would boil over, as demonstrators demand the resignation of Lasso, a wealthy banker and businessmen who eked out a victory in Ecuador’s April 2021 presidential election.
For several days, Indigenous organizations and citizens in general have called a strike against Lasso’s government due to increases in the cost of living. The declaration of a state of emergency has only added fuel to the protests.
Ecuadorian Indigenous movements, and CONAIE in particular, have a long tradition of anti-government protests that have forced several presidents to resign or flee the country, including Lucio Gutiérrez in 2005. However, CONAIE’s legitimacy suffered during the 2021 presidential race when it failed to support the progressive candidate, Andres Arauz, which proved to be decisive for Lasso’s victory.
This article was republished from Orinoco Tribune.