Police, Military Crack Down on Ecuador’s National Protest

EspañolNational protests from the Ecuadorian opposition and indigenous groups on August 13 ended with clashes between armed police and protesters, arrests, and reports of infiltration from agents provocateur who incited violence.

Amid the confrontation in downtown Quito, at least one prominent activist was allegedly wounded by police officers.

“Native Shuar Julio Wisum hurt during the march in downtown Quito.”

Ecuadorians took to social media to condemn the way police threw tear gas at the march when it reached the capital’s downtown, en route to the governor’s office.

Indigenous opposition leader Salvador Quishpe also confirmed with local media that police officers arrested at least 10 activists.

“Police resort to tear gas to prevent the opposition from reaching the governor’s office.”

Local radio station Wamba Radio reported that punk men “infiltrated” the vast demonstration and attempted to rob their journalist’s camera and cellphone.

“As violence climaxed, infiltrators threw fire at a protester. This is not coming from protesters #ParoNacional”

Simultaneously across the country, several marches and road blocks joined the protest against the Rafael Correa administration.

Likewise on Thursday afternoon, armed police and military officers tried to clear the Panamericana Highway in Cotopaxi by throwing pepper gas at indigenous men, women, and children.

A cloud of gas settled upon the first roadblock made up of rocks and burning tires as protesters dispersed. At least a dozen people were arrested and many were wounded, six of them policemen.

Different demands motivate the variety of groups taking part in the day of national strike, but they all reject a series of constitutional amendments proposed by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. The most disputed of the bills being discussed at the Ecuadorian Congress, dominated by the ruling party, is the one that would allow Correa to run for a third term in 2017.

The protesters assure they won’t back down until Correa withdraws the controversial amendments.

“Everything is normal in the main cities. Unfortunately, the old guard, using indigenous peoples, have blocked the Panamericana Sur…”

For his part, Correa deemed the strikes “a failure,” even though he acknowledged that road blocks caused traffic congestion.

The protests initially erupted in early June, as the government pushed for policies aimed at redistributing wealth and taxing inheritance.

Source: El Comercio.

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