11/24/2020

Ecuador: military reinforce security in Quito and its accesses

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Military checkpoints were installed on Quito roads access . The order is to check vehicles that seek enter the city. The uniformed officers intensified this Thursday, October 22, 2020, arms, ammunition and explosives control operations due to the announced demonstrations. ElComercio.com newspaper consulted with officers of the Armed Forces in charge of security in Quito during the days of protests that will take place this Thursday.

They pointed out that there are about 4,000 military personnel assigned to the capital. They also clarified that normally in the city there is usually a contingent of 1,500 soldiers. The increase, they said, is due to the strategy to respond in the event of violent demonstrations that may exceed the Police. The soldiers will remain for the most part in the barracks. A group of soldiers was installed at dawn in the accesses of the city to comply with the registration of vehicles and their occupants. “We seek to detect people who could come with weapons to the demonstrations,” said one of the officers consulted. Mainly 900 members of the First Division of the Shyris Army work on the access roads to Quito. They ask the drivers to get out of the vehicles, check the seats, the luggage rack, the glove compartment and also do a search of the occupants.

Ecuador’s progressive political movements, social organizations, and unions will take to the streets on Thursday to reject the economic crisis deepened by President Lenin Moreno, who persists in complying with the policy conditionalities imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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The Worker’s Unitary Front (FUT) called a rally in Quito at 4:00 p.m. local time “in defense of employment, education, health, and social security.” At that same time, in other cities of the country, workers, farmers, and students will also take to the streets.

Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo, however, tried to minimize the importance and magnitude of the new social protests. “The number of people who will mobilize will be less compared to the figure observed in last year’s October,” she said.

In 2019, during practically the entire month of October, thousands of people took to the streets to protest against the implementation of the IMF policies, among which was the elimination of gasoline subsidies.

As a result of unprecedented police brutality, which has remained in impunity so far, over 10 citizens died and 1,500 people were injured as the Ecuadorian government tried to contain the Indigenous peoples who came to the country’s capital from rural areas.