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Thousands of indigenous people march in peace in Quito after the altercations in the union demonstration

October 10, 2019


Thousands of indigenous people have marched peacefully towards the historic center of Quito, as agreed with the Government of Lenin Moreno under the auspices of the UN, despite the altercations recorded in a previous mobilization led by the unions, within the framework of the national strike called against the economic reform launched by the Ecuadorian authorities.

The natives, who in recent days have arrived in Quito from different parts of the country, have marched from the El Arbolito park, which has served as headquarters, to the historic center on a route previously agreed with the Government thanks to United Nations mediation. The vice president, Otto Sonnenholzner, has informed at a press conference that the “commitment” of the indigenous people was to “march in peace.”

And so it has been, according to the Ecuadorian media. The leaders of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) have negotiated with police and military every step of the way when protesters have encountered a security barrier. In some points they have allowed them to continue and in others they have redirected them, but in no case have there been clashes.

The situation has been different in the Plaza del Teatro, also in the historic center, where hours before the hundreds of people who have mobilized attending the union call have come together. In the so-called workers' march, protesters have tried to pass the safety cords leading to crashes. Agents have used tear gas, while groups of hooded men have thrown blunt objects and erected barricades on fire.

Sonnenholzner has been aware that “today is going to be the most complex day” for the national strike, although he has been sure that “from there we will move forward.” “We must leave behind the path of instability and coup,” he urged protesters.

Meanwhile, the Ecuadorian president has left Guayaquil, where he took refuge on Monday night (local time) with his Government to avoid attacks against him during the wave of protests, and goes to Quito to continue from there the development of the strike national.

The origin of the protests is the economic reform announced by Moreno on October 1 as a result of the agreement reached with the International Monetary Fund to achieve an injection of 4.2 billion dollars for the country.

The riots broke out two days later with clashes between police and military and looting, which led Moreno to declare the state of emergency, which initially had to be in force 60 days but the Constitutional Court reduced it to 30.

Since then, two people have died – one hit by a car and another by falling over a bridge, both within the framework of the protests – dozens have been injured, including a person who lost an eye for a shot, and nearby of 700 have been arrested, according to the latest balance.

Moreno has offered a dialogue clarifying that he will not recover the fuel subsidy, the most controversial measure popularly known as “package”, although protesters require as a requirement to sit at the negotiating table that the Government recover public aid to gasoline and diesel.

The Ecuadorian president has directly accused his predecessor and once ally, Rafael Correa, and his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolás Maduro, of orchestrating the protests in an attempt to overthrow his government, something that both have denied.