A Day Of Protest In Ecuador

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Student protesters walking to the 10 de agosto Avenue. (Photo by: Vincent Ricci)
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By Vincent Ricci

NANN Ecuador

News Americas, QUITO, Ecuador, Tues. May 26, 2020: From Ecuador’s smallest towns to the largest cities, from its Amazonian region passing the Andes to the Pacific coast, Ecuadorians went to the streets on Monday defying stay-at-home orders. This has been a series of protests happening over the month, beginning with students’ and growing to countless others.

Now nearing the end of May, students, teachers, and public workers, including healthcare workers, marched against massive government cuts in public spending and layoffs affecting hundreds and reducing wages of others, leaving people vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic.

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In Quito, the march started at la Universidad Central where students gathered together and continued to the 10 de agosto avenue where they joined other protestors in front of the Ecuadorian Institute for Social Security. All in the vicinity of where Ecuador’s national strike took place in October. One demonstrator spray painted “parque de la resistencia,” meaning resistance park in Spanish, referring to where the acts of October happened.

Walking in the rays of the strong Andean sun, protesters moved towards Quito’s old town wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing. Police had blocked narrow streets leading to the presidential palace. The situation began to change when provocations were made between police and protesters, ultimately bringing the protest to a near end.

As some bottles were lunged at the police, officers broke the barricade and began pushing people back to a nearby historical plaza called the Santo Domingo Plaza. At this point, the police were trying to disperse the crowd and end the demonstration. There were some rumors indicating that the march would have continued to the National Assembly, Ecuador’s legislative body.

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A burnt tire in front of Ecuador’s social security institute. (Photo by Vincent Ricci)

There were some reports that police used tear gas a few times.

However, demonstrators have legitimate reasons to protest. A worker from Ecuador’s postal service named Miguel told News America Now that he hasn’t received his salary in two months, since the beginning of the pandemic, and the government is looking to privatize the public entity saying they see it as not “sustainable.” He doubts what the government says because there are sufficient funds to keep it a public entity, according to him. “But it’s not like that [what the government says] because we are sustainable” he said

People also defied lockdown measures in Guayaquil, the country’s coronavirus epicenter which accounts for about half of the recorded cases.

As coronavirus has become almost secondary during the drastic cuts that have happened over the past month, a new fervor as seen in October is beginning to resonate with Ecuadorians again.  

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Vincent Ricci is an independent journalist based in Ecuador. He covers human and indigenous rights, social movements, immigration, and politics in Ecuador and Latin America. You can follow him on Twitter @ Vincent__cr and his blog.

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