QUITO, June 23 (NNN-MERCOPRESS) — Ecuadorian police have reported that 80 people had been arrested in anti-government protests over the past few days following riots in Quito and other parts of the country where a curfew is in force and a state of emergency has been declared.
A firearm had also been seized from one of the demonstrators, Police Chief Fausto Salinas told reporters after nine days of protests over the high cost of living, following the endorsement from social groups such as students and unions to the indigenous movement’s initiative.
The Alliance of Human Rights Organizations had spoken Monday of 86 detainees, including 61 injured demonstrators, 18 of them seriously.
Salinas also stated that 80 police officers had been wounded in clashes, in addition to 21 military personnel who were defending oil installations in the Amazon as demonstrators sought to take control of them.
The Police chief also spoke of “27 police officers kidnapped” by demonstrators, who usually let them go after a few hours.
There were also 23 police vehicles damaged, many of them “completely destroyed by incineration”, according to Salinas, who added that among the protesters was a group willing to carry out “some incendiary action” against public facilities, which reminded him of the October 2019 protests.
He also underlined an attack against the Prosecutor’s Office by “people who wanted to damage files on corruption and some cases of organized crime.” The Police managed to expel the demonstrators, who then went to the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE).
“Some of the protesters are acting violently and using some means that can cause harm to the integrity of people, such as sharp weapons, gasoline, and diesel,” said Salinas.
The Police also denounced the contamination with burnt oil of the water plant in the city of Ambato, in the province of Tungurahua. “This is not a peaceful protest,” Salinas added.
Protests have since Monday focused on Quito with the arrival of thousands of indigenous people to challenge the state of emergency decreed by President Guillermo Lasso, who acquiesced to many demands made by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), despite which its leader, Leonidas Iza, has announced that the protests will continue until all of their requests are met, including the freezing and reduction of fuel prices in Ecuador, price controls on essential products, respect for minimum prices of products such as bananas, and a halt to the expansion of mining concessions. — NNN-MERCOPRESS