On the eleventh day, thousands of indigenous people took to the streets of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. The powerful indigenous organization CONAIE mobilized the country’s poor for a major struggle and national strike against the government.
They are calling for a freeze on current fuel prices, regulation of basic commodity prices, social assistance, a halt to oil and mining operations, and improved health services.
One List of ten points It is presented to the elected representatives.
But in response, right-wing Ecuadorean President Guillermo Laso declared a state of emergency and deployed armed security forces.
– The state deployed the army and issued a decree prohibiting people from meeting and demonstrating, says Santos Villamar, former head of the indigenous organization Venusine.
They are among the indigenous organizations behind the mass demonstration that led to a political crisis.
– The situation in Keto is chaotic now. The indigenous population of Quito is concentrated in what we call “the capture of the capital,” Villamar continues.
Two protesters were killed after clashes with police who responded to the crowd with tear gas. For their part, the demonstrators blocked roads and set tires on fire.
On Wednesday, there were 300 accidents across the country, according to Ecuadorean Police Director Fausto Salinas, who met with the press.
– We’ve arrested 80 people so far. 80 policemen were wounded, 21 were injured, 27 were kidnapped, all were released, and 23 cars were damaged. Salinas says two cars were completely destroyed by their fire.
A state of emergency was imposed in six of Ecuador’s 24 provinces in connection with the unrest.
– This is not a peaceful demonstration. This is not a peaceful event. We are still calling for dialogue (..) and we know that there are organized groups who want to create chaos in the city, he said.
He must learn to listen to people’s demands
The former head of the indigenous organization Fenocin disagrees with the chief of police. He believes that armed police met unarmed people on the streets.
According to Villamar, local police tried to stem the flow into the capital by stopping cars along the roads.
“Despite the restrictions that were put in place to prevent indigenous people from meeting, spending the night, and concentrating in Quito, the number of people who have come is enormous,” Villamar says.
– People are tired of the government not seeing the population. Everything is so expensive now. There are no jobs. The products that farmers have to buy are incredibly expensive. Their economy has collapsed, says the former head of the indigenous organization.
Great experience in replacing the president
Last week, the president tried to calm the masses by increasing social support by about 50 kroner a month. Fertilizers will also be refused to farmers, while a health service crisis has been announced so new resources can be deployed. Indigenous bilinguals must receive instruction in their mother tongue.
Villamar thinks that’s not enough.
– This government must learn to listen to the demands of the people. He says there is a complete lack of people’s social policy.
Among the protesters there are not only indigenous peoples, but also peasants, workers and dark-skinned people. Santos Villamar says it’s all people.
– We have a lot of experience in replacing the president. When the government does not listen to the demands of the population, crises arise between the dead and the wounded. The way out is for the president to resign.
You must start a conversation
On Monday, the National Assembly passed a resolution asking the government to start a “serious, clear and honest dialogue” with the help of mediators from the United Nations, the Red Cross, universities and the Catholic Church.
So said the leader of the Aboriginal and Kunai movement, Leonidas Isa They have demands that must be met before the government meets for dialogue.
Among other things, the armed forces must be removed from certain places in the capital and the state of emergency lifted. Eza was arrested last week before being released.
For his part, the country’s Defense Minister, Luis Lara, said that the country’s democracy was seriously threatened, and that the armed forces would not allow attempts to breach the “constitutional order”.
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