Ecuador does not find a way out of its national labyrinth. Its president, Guillermo Lasso, has addressed the country to denounce the leaders of the protests, especially the radical indigenous Leonardo Iza, for promoting a coup to overthrow him. “He never wanted to solve an agenda for the benefit of indigenous peoples and nationalities. The only thing he wanted was to deceive his bases and usurp the legally constituted government,” Lasso assured after revealing that the government agreed to allow the indigenous march to enter the House of Culture to set up a “popular assembly”.
Contacts between members of the government and Iza’s circle also contemplated laying the foundations for dialogue, promoted by civil society and the Catholic Church. Despite the commitment to the negotiated route, the clashes were repeated around the Assembly and the Comptroller’s Office, while in the mountainous province of Cotopaxi the rebels appointed one of their own “governor of the people” in the absence of the authority state.
Lasso took advantage of his speech to announce a strong hand after twelve days of National Strike, in the face of “violence perpetrated by infiltrated criminals.” “The National Police and the Armed Forces will act with the necessary means to defend public order and democracy,” Lasso stressed.
In a meeting with police officers, Patricio Carrillo, Minister of the Interior, denounced that demonstrators were using firearms against his troops. “We are going to be forced to take the next step. We are no longer going to repel, but to repress with the progressive use of force. We are no longer facing protesters for a social demand, but rather a group of criminals” assured the minister. The next step would include the use of buckshot carbines.
On the battlefield, the clashes lasted for hours, until finally the public force was able to evict the demonstrators from the House of Culture and the El Arbolito park. The tear gas and the attacks of the motorized units were finally imposed on those who defended themselves with shields and threw stones and spears. Several audiovisual documents confirmed that some groups used projectile tubes, even firearms were also seen.
So far there have been five fatalities, according to human rights organizations and official sources, in addition to 200 wounded.
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