Streets become deserted and businesses close as a result. Thousands of indigenous people from all around Ecuador advance on a worn-out and militarized Quito, ready to stay until Guillermo Lasso’s administration caves in to their demands or is overthrown.
Since the 11-day-old protests over the cost of living hike, all attempts at dialogue have been unsuccessful. At least three people have already died and other people have been detained as a result of clashes between demonstrators and police personnel in various places.
The protesters, who are housed in two institutions, acquire strength at night, and before noon, they disperse in groups. They hold whipalas, the multicolored flag of the Andean aboriginal peoples, along with poles, homemade shields, and other items.
Red ponchos stand out among the angry columns. They leave behind barricades made of burned tires and logs as well as open-air bonfires. North of the city, a section starts to become paralyzed.
“It can last a month or two months. War will break out, but in the meantime, we’ll battle until “Mara Vega, a 47-year-old survivor who works a variety of professions, cries out, “Remove the president!”
They alter their path when the combined army and police force stops moving. Metal barricades have been erected to block the presidential office’s entrances. Pickets in uniform and razor wires.
The insurrection, in the opinion of President Lasso, a former conservative banker who has been in office for a year. After three presidents abruptly left office between 1997 and 2005 due to popular pressure, the nation gained a reputation for being incompetently run.
However, neither the military presence nor the curfew or the abuse from paralyzed people can stop them. Undercover protesters oppose the emergency declaration, which the government imposed after removing the troops from their barracks in an effort to regain control.
“They are armed. How will you make the comparison between a weapon and a stick or a stone? They are unable to treat us equally “AFP was told by Luzmila Zamora, 51.
The indigenous people left their rural areas 11 days ago, but they didn’t get to Quito until Monday. They all had the same issue: the exorbitant expense of living. In addition to other measures to mitigate the increase in the family basket, they want the government to enact a decrease in fuel prices.
According to Zamora, “We want a government that works for the people, for all of Ecuador, not only for the upper elite.”
The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador is leading the demonstrations, which have already resulted in three fatalities and several injuries among demonstrators and security personnel (Conaie).
The organization’s leader, Leonidas Iza, makes an appearance in the crowd using a megaphone to reiterate his desire to engage in a conditioned discourse, but only after questioning Lasso.
Do we have solutions, comrades? he inquires. Around him, hundreds of native people exclaim “Nooo!”
A 40-year-old evangelical preacher named Marco Vinicio Morales questions how a nation “with large-scale oil, gold, and silver production” is afflicted by “the high expense of life” at another point in the protest. Lasso will therefore “dig the grave and must be removed if there is no answer,” he says.
Conaie proposes a price control scheme to combat speculation and the weak food market in addition to a one-year prohibition on bank loans and the fuel issue.
The indigenous Zamora summarizes, “Chemical prices are so exorbitant that farmers have to work at a loss.”
The list of claims is expanded with new ones including increased funding for health and education.
However, the mobilization also has an impact on Quito’s employees and business owners, who are working to recover from the devastating pandemic-related disaster.
In 2019, the indigenous population pushed further into Quito, forcing the government to back out of a deal with the IMF that effectively ended gasoline subsidies for millionaires.
After almost two weeks, they succeeded in their mission, but not without leaving the middle and upper classes with bitterness in their wake. Racism, which had been buried for a while, reemerged with a vengeance.
Then, across the nation, there were 1000 injured protesters and 11 fatalities.
Some moments are replayed three years later. blocked streets, guarded entrances, shut-down businesses, and a divided city.
Chef Efrén Carrión, 42, is already suffering the effects. From Monday through Friday, they sold 120 lunches per day; today, they only sell 10 to 25.
He regrets that “clients run away without paying” as a result of the tear gas. The finest revolution, he says, is one in which people cooperate to find a solution and engage in discourse.
Downtown buildings were deserted due to the protests. “If there are no hearings, they are not required to pay. Hearings have been suspended. They have scared off customers “asserts attorney Hugo Castro (55).
Native Americans are aware of the discomfort they create. Diana Segovia, a 32-year-old itinerant garment vendor, says, “They criticize us, they tell us we are lazy, that we let them work, but they don’t have needs, they don’t understand.”
Without knowing how long it will take to put out, Quito’s unrest fire continues to burn.