On the evening of October 13th, 2019, the 11th day of nationwide indigenous-led mobilizations that paralyzed the country, Ecuador’s indigenous movement forced their government to pay heed to their demands over those of the International Monetary Fund, a monumental victory for indigenous organizing and a powerful blow to a 4.4 billion IMF-backed loan deal that seeks to restructure the Ecuadorian economy towards privatization, resource-extraction, and other severe neo-liberal economic reforms.
This visual recap gives a brief glimpse into the events and emotions on the ground in Ecuador since the mobilizations began.
Resistance in the Amazon
Across the Amazon, indigenous peoples blocked roads, occupied government buildings, and disrupted oil operations in an organized demonstration of power, unity and discontent to the entire country.
Police and Military Repression
This video documents instances of police brutality and represssion against demonstrators during nationwide protests in Ecuador, October 2019.
This video shows inside moments of fear and chaos as thousands of people peacefully protesting outside the National Assembly ran from a ruthless surprise attack of tear gas and rubber bullets by police and military.
Indigenous Women’s March
Thousands of women, indigenous and non-indigenous, march together to denounce state violence and to demand the cancelation of agreements with the International Monetary Fund and the reversal of economic measures by the government which have sparked the largest social unrest in the country in over a decade. “No more deaths, no more violence by the repressive state!” was the uniting cry from the women’s peaceful march in Quito on October 12th 2019.
At around 8:30pm on Saturday 12th 2019 in Quito, the city filled with the sounds of clanking pots and pans as people joined together through windowsills and avenues in the South American protest tradition called “cacerolazo”, derived from the word casserole. The spontaneous eruption of sound brought a moment of hope throughout the city, and across the provinces, in what has been one of the most tumultuous weeks in the last decade in Ecuador.
The sounds of the “cacerolazo” have preceded protests across the region for over 50 years, and were last heard in Ecuador before citizens forced then-President Lucio Gutierrez out of office and out of the country. Indigenous peoples walled in last night by police and military at designated peace zones, thanked Quito this morning for its support and promised to stand firm with their demands in today’s scheduled dialogue with President Lenin Moreno.
A Dialogue Begins
The next day, indigenous leaders bring their demands to President Lenín Moreno during a dialogue on October 13th, 2019 in Quito, Ecuador. The dialogue, mediated by the United Nations amongst others, was broadcast live on national TV.
Cleaning Up and Looking Ahead
A lot remains to be written, as indigenous peoples prepare for the long road ahead to hold the government accountable for widespread human rights violations during the protests and the complete nullification of the economic measures and extractive policies imposed by the IMF in Ecuador.
For centuries indigenous peoples have struggled against government attempts to marginalize, dispossess, and ultimately relegate them to the sidelines in decisions that affecting their lives, their cultures, and their forests. What is clear from the past two weeks is that indigenous peoples have the power to organize and ensure that decisions that affect their future aren’t made unilaterally by money-strapped governments and resource-hungry multinational companies.
URGENT: Humanitarian Aid and Legal support needed for indigenous peoples in the wake of nationwide protests in Ecuador
Indigenous and human rights organizations on the ground in Ecuador need urgent humanitarian aid for the wounded and legal aid to defend indigenous people who were arbitrarily detained or charged with a crime during the mobilization. Amazon Frontlines, Land Is Life, and Amazon Watch will channel the funds from this campaign to the Ecumenical Commission on Human Rights (CEDHU), an Ecuadorian non-profit with 40 years of experience working towards social justice and human rights. 100% of funds will be used exclusively for humanitarian and legal support for indigenous peoples.