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One dead and about 500 arrested for the wave of protests in Ecuador against the government’s economic reform

October 7, 2019


One person has died and a total of 477 have been arrested in the context of the protests that broke out last week in Ecuador against the economic reform of the Government of Lenín Moreno.

A man was hit on Sunday on the road between the towns of Cuenca and Molleturo, in the province of Azuay (south), “by a vehicle that apparently fled the place when it was attacked by community members who keep the public road blocked.” The man, about 35 years old, died, as reported by the Traffic Commission of Ecuador in a statement.

Interior Minister María Paula Romo has stressed that this first moral victim “was not the result of a confrontation with the Public Force.” “We have not had a single dead person as a result of the clashes” between protesters and uniformed men, he said in an interview with Ecuador TV.

However, it has recognized “injured people – civilians, police and military–“. The most serious case is that of a person who “had an affectation in one of his eyes”, although the rest have been treated normally in health centers, he said.

In addition, it has updated the balance of detainees, which has risen to 477. Most, he said, have been arrested for “vandalism.” “For each detained person we have a record of the place, time, day, name, ID number and even a photo,” he added.

Romo has defended the actions of the Police, ensuring that it has acted according to “its rules”, although at the same time it has guaranteed that “if there is any case in which it acts outside of this at the time it will be reviewed”.

Along the same lines, the Minister of Defense, Oswaldo Jarrín, has ratified that “the Police and the Armed Forces have the absolute backing of the Government for the fulfillment of their functions in order to maintain public order and guarantee the rights of the population “.

Ecuador lived on Thursday the worst riots in years with hooded protesters throwing stones and other blunt objects at the Police, which responded with tear gas. The day resulted in 275 detainees and 28 injured officers.

In response, the Ecuadorian president declared the state of exception, which will be in force 60 days during which some fundamental rights and freedoms will be restricted.

Despite this, the protests have continued and the largest indigenous organization in Ecuador has declared its own state of exception for the “brutality” of repression.

Moreno has offered dialogue to the protesters but has clarified that he will not reverse the economic reform, whose most controversial point is the elimination of aid for fuel consumption. The so-called 'package' is part of the adjustments required by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).