On Tuesday morning, Defense Minister Luis Lara stated that the Ecuadorian Armed Forces will not allow actions against «the constitutional order, democracy and the law.»
«Ecuador’s democracy is at serious risk,» he said at a time when protests are massing and intensifying throughout the country through the blockade of highways and the arrival of thousands of demonstrators in the capital city of Quito.
The Armed Forces «view with great concern the manipulation of social protest, the growth of violence by those who have rejected dialogue, a fundamental principle of coexistence in freedom and democracy, to try to impose their demands on the State.»
According to the Defense Minister, the growing discontent against President Guillermo Lasso is «a deliberate attempt to use armed violence to attack democracy and threaten institutions.»
While the government builds narratives to justify the repression against unarmed Indigenous workers and farmers, citizens are turning to social media to denounce what is happening in the «state of emergency», which was initially established by an unconstitutional decree.
In the early hours of Tuesday, videos posted on social networks showed possible far-right militants shooting at citizens who were protesting on the Ruta Viva, the highway connecting Quito with the Simon Bolivar international airport.
Later, Ecuadorians denounced the attempt by security forces to occupy the National Polytechnic University’s campus, which is located in La Foresta, a neighborhood where Indigenous families often seek shelter when they mobilize to protest in Quito from other provinces. A few hours later, citizens denounced the launch of tear gas inside the Salesian Polytechnic University, where Indigenous protesters slept on Monday night.
In the 2019 national strike, thousands of Indigenous men, women, and children received shelter in the universities of the capital city as well as in the House of Culture. On this occasion, it seems that the anti-riot strategy contemplates preventing that from happening, as evidenced by the occupation of the House of Culture by the National Police.
#Ecuador | Hundreds of police and military raided the House of Culture (Casa de la Cultura) yesterday. Today, they arrive at the National Assembly. Lawmakers will debate tonight the eventual revocation of the state of emergency.#ParoNacionalEc2022 #ParoEcuador2022 pic.twitter.com/9gDKnFVwaD
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish)
June 20, 2022