At 7PM on the 9th October, 7th day of the state of emergency in Ecuador, the protestors in the centre of Quito go back to their homes, in the case of the premises; and to the refuge centers at the Salesian and Catholic universities, in the case of indigenous people who arrived three days ago in the capital.
The general and permanent protests in the national territory arose approximately two weeks ago, to demand that the government of Lenín Moreno repeal the economic measures recommended by the International Monetary Fund, which became effective as of last week. The fundamental reasons are the rise in fuel prices, the decline in labor rights and the increase of cost of living. But the IMF is talked about in the streets and their departure from the country has been demanded.
A group of protesters were on 12th October Avenue, it took less than an hour until everything became dark, lonely and unpunished. The curfew did not start and the policemen already did the cleaning by attacking the men and women who still had the courage to raise their voice. A few blocks away, the refuge centres where the indigenous protesters were already housed, who the day before were violently evicted from El Arbolito, a park that has become their traditional camping point when they arrive in Quito.
We covered the situation for ElEstado.Net when it was alerted to a police attack. I don’t know if there were more or less than 50 riot motorcycles, they were accompanied by several patrol officer who threw tear gas at the protesters. In the first escalation of the Police, we ran to a neutral point, raised our arms and identified ourselves as Press. They approached us with clubs in hand but when they saw us recording and identifying ourselves they left. We were on Roca Street, that’s where they were.
After this advance, where some protesters were hit with batons near us, there was another police incursion, which went directly to the universities and tear gas shots were heard ( I could not be certain if there were shots of any other weapon ) that can be seen in the videos we were able to film. After attacking the refuge where the natives rested and treated the wounded from the morning repression, they did not return. We were all terrified, we didn’t understand what was going on around us.
Regarding the attack, Minister María Paula Romo expressed her apologies indicating that the bombs “have fallen near the universities”, which contradicts the protesters’ experiences which we recorded the serious repression on the seventh day of national strike, the night of greatest repression and violence by the Ecuadorian state during the state of emergency.
#ATENCIÓN | “Me disculpo porque hace unos momentos bombas lacrimógenas han caído cerca de dos universidades y del Ágora de la Casa de la Cultura… De ninguna manera esto se va a volver a repetir”, asegura ministra María Paula Romo
— El Comercio (@elcomerciocom) October 10, 2019
In response to the statements of Minister María Paula Romo, social media users shared videos in which it can be seen that the attack on universities were neither errors nor coincidences, as she said. On Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, hashtags on Twitter were created such as #RomoAsesina, #RomoCriminal, #RomoEsViolencia and # LenínMorenoAsesino.
Today we will go out again to confirm the social struggle and situation in Ecuador against a censored press which is edited and imposed by the executive government and that is far from the reality that citizens feel in the streets. The violence is atrocious. Yesterday’s dark night has left fatalities according to CONAIE and indigenous organizations. We are afraid, Quito is now a battlefield.