50 Police Taken Hostage as Protests Continue in Ecuador

Published October 7, 2019

Ecuador

About 50 police officers have been taken hostage and indigenous groups have blocked roads and highways, as protests against the state’s neoliberal economic policies continued in Ecuador.

On October 3, in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, anarchists, some carrying red and black flags, fought alongside students, setting flaming barricades and throwing rocks at riot police, who they forced to retreat. Anarchists have been on the forefront of the struggle against IMF-imposed “reforms” and against the police-state that is attempting to enforce these “reforms” with brutality.

Ecuador

Ecuador

Protests began when Ecuador’s corrupt president Lenin Moreno announced the end of fuel subsidies. Moreno’s regime, though nominally left-wing, has strengthened relations with the imperialist United States, launching a joint security effort and intelligence sharing operation.

President Lenin Moreno says he will not bring back subsidies and has declared a two-month national emergency.

Some of the protests were organized by transport unions who have since stopped their action. Other sectors are calling for a national strike on Wednesday.

An umbrella group for indigenous groups in the country, the Confederation of Indigenous Nations in Ecuador (Conaie) said it was declaring a “state of exception” in indigenous areas, where soldiers and police officers would be detained and would face “indigenous justice.”

Luis Iguamba, leader of the Kayambi people from northern Ecuador, said they would keep up the pressure on the government.

“We are fighting for everyone and we are fighting to foresee the rights we all have and we can’t allow this. So, everyone, be on the lookout and keep up the fight. Let’s radicalise the strike,” he said.

Ecuador

Indigenous-led protests have toppled three presidents in the last few decades.

Their intervention follows protests on Thursday and Friday that saw roads in the capital Quito and the city of Guayaquil strewn with makeshift barricades and burning tires.

Hundreds of people were arrested, dozens of police officers hurt, several police cars destroyed and a local government building was attacked, the authorities said.

Ecuador’s government has agreed to cut public spending as part of a loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The agreement, signed in March, allows Ecuador to borrow $4.2bn.

Anarchists and indigenous groups are likely to continue resistance against the neoliberal policies of the Moreno regime.