The purpose of this article is to raise awareness about the unprecedented level of state repression taking place in Ecuador and of the detainment of people who were protesting against recent constitutional amendments. Everyone in Ecuador will be affected by these amendments and human and nature's rights are put further at risk. Furthermore, this is a call to END THE VIOLENCE, both from the side of protesters and from the side of police forces.
URGENT BULLETIN: STATE VIOLENCE IN ECUADOR
Thursday, 3rd of December, 2015, the Ecuadorian people demonstrate against 16 changes to the Ecuadorian constitution that the government has labeled as "amendments". While Quito celebrated its annual festivities, the ruling party in Ecuador met at the National Assembly to vote on largely unpopular constitutional amendments. Among other things, the amendments dictate:
- that the armed forces be allowed to collaborate with the police in the task of state security;
- that the cities, provinces, local governments, and citizenry may not have referendums in their own communities;
- that communications become a public service and will no longer be a plural expression of opinions in society;
- that any publicly elected official may run for their incumbent office as many times as they please.
The popular protest against the amendments that was carried out in the vicinity of the National Assembly was violently repressed by antiriot police forces with specific orders to detain directors and leaders of the protests.
Following are faithful testimonies of the citizenry present at the protests. All of these acts were provoked by the National Police Forces, on the orders of the Minister of the Interior. In the morning there were already hundreds of police surrounding the National Assembly, which surpassed even the number of protestors, by the afternoon they were joined by hundreds of mounted police, exhibiting, furthermore, animal cruelty; special police forces and, or course, armed police.
El Arbolito Park: The police attacked people with horses, motorcycles, antiriot forces and armoured police vehicles. Whole squadrons entered the park and and chased the protestors as well as those who had nothing to do with the protests.
Hospital Militar: People were coming down towards Ave. 6 de Diciembre to join the march. Before being able to join the march, various people were cornered by dozens of police officers against a wall. We repeat: these people had not even joined the protest yet. Among them, a 64-year-old retired soldier with medical problems was arrested. After being thrown against the wall, they were detained in the National Assembly first and later transported by bus.
March: in the streets adjacent to the National Assembly, police gassed and whipped with horses' reins women who were protesting. A young Human Rights defender, hardly 18-years-old, was intentionally trampled by a mounted officer. Female police attacked the female protestors. There were people bleeding from the police repression and many suffered serious consequences from being gassed in the face.
Unidad de Flagracia: more than 50 people detained and taken to the Unidad de Flagrancia by bus. Until 10 pm on the 3rd, the time of their hearing was permanently changing. They were not allowed contact with their family nor lawyer visits. The detained remain incommunicated and nothing has been released about their health or emotional state. Family members, defenders and protestors maintain vigil at the moment, waiting for the hearings to begin. The youngest person detained is 18 and the oldest is the 64-year-old man detained near the Hospital Militar. Hearings are announced for 11pm, 1 am, 4am. There is no due process. Outside, around a hundred people wait. The number of police and antiriot forces surpasses the number of family members. La Unidad de Flagrancia is cordoned off.
In the name of the national government, member of the Assembly María Augusta Calle says of the social protest and military presence: "We need our soldiers to deal with the the internal war." From the National Assembly it is being declared that there is an INTERNAL WAR in order to justify the repression unprecedented in Ecuador’s modern history.