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Ecuador: The March for Life Arrives in Quito

On March 22, 2012, the March for life made its entrance in Quito. Since its departure on Monday [es] for Lacatunga, some 75 kilometers from the capital city, the March, which at that time already had some 1,000 participants thanks to several indigenous delegations joining, continued [es] its route towards Saquisilí [es], the planned assembly point where they would devise their strategy for getting to Quito.

On Tuesday it headed from Saquisilí to Machachi [es], which is situated in the same province as the Ecuadorian capital, Pichincha. From there it proceeded on to Uyumbicho then spent the night [es] from Wednesday to Thursday in a Coliseum located in Guamaní [es], in the southern part of Quito.

In the meantime delegations from other parts of the country were also preparing to arrive in Quito, such as various militant groups and activists from Esmeraldas [es] who left on Sunday from their region, as well as indigenous delegations from Imbabura y Otavalo [es] that did the same on Tuesday.


March for Life

March for Life

The Mayor of Quito declared [es]that the March could occupy Parque El Arbolito from 2pm on March 22. Consequently, it was arranged [es] for about 3200 police officers to maintain order in the city. Although one of the government ministers said [es] that the protests would not meet with any obstacles upon entering Quito, the movement against the march has been very active, as well as the verbal attacks [es] made by the president. Public agencies from cities near to Quito such as Santo Domingo [es], received instructions to move government supporters to the capital with the aim of filling all the public spaces in the city.

And so, with requests [es] for the protesters on both sides and the force of the law to ensure there would not be any clashes, and with a pre-departure ritual in honor of Pachamama, the marchers left around 9 a.m from Guamaní, in the south of Quito for the center of the city – more precisely to Parque del Arbolito.

From early on the media were covering [es] various [es] marches that were taking place simultaneously in the city. (See here a detailed account [es] of the march on March 22). Then they realized [es] the March for Life had arrived [es] in the Parque el Arbolito surrounded by a large deployment of police.

The Ecuadorian Twittersphere was also taking note of the march and criticizing the government. Many tweets can be found under the following keywords: #marchas22m [es], #marchasec [es], #marchas_ec [es], #marchasindigenas [es], #22m [es] and many more; while the government sector was using the following keywords: #porlademocracia [es] and #nopasaran [es], although one cannot say for certain that each group is using the above keywords exclusively.

The indigenous activist Mónica Chuji (@Monicachuji) [es] reported:

No importó la lluvia, igual caminamos mojaditos desde Uyumbicho hasta Guamaní. Almorzamos pan con atun y agua pero llegamos dignos a Quito.

It didn't matter that it was raining, we still walked, wet, from Uyumbicho to Guamaní. We had bread and tuna for lunch and water, but we arrived to Quito with our dignity.

Nelson Piedra (@nopiedra) [es], wrote:

#Ecuador [es] Los Mesías de las redes sociales de este país con tweets “políticamente correctos”. El silencio también es violencia.

#Ecuador [es] The Messiahs of social networks in this country make “politically correct tweets”. Silence can also be a form of violence.

@plurinacionales [es] posted the following images of the arrival of the march:

#22m [es] #conaie [es] Imágenes de la llegada de la Marcha a Quito http://dlvr.it/1Lh1gM [es] #marchavida [es]

#22m [es] #conaie [es] Images of the arrival of the march in Quito http://dlvr.it/1Lh1gM [es] #marchavida [es]

Meanwhile the Twitter account for the Ecuadorian Presidency (Presidencia_Ec) [es] informed:

Presidente #Correa [es] advierte que grupos opositores quieren generar violencia en marchas previstas para hoy #Quito [es]

President #Correa [es] warns that protest groups seek to incite violence in the marches set to take place today #Quito [es]

Quito journalist Susana Morán (@susanamorg) [es] reported:

@marchavida [es] pasó el puente de Guajaló, en el sur de Quito. Ha sido un recorrido tranquilo #marchas22m [es]

@marchavida [es] [March for Life] crossed the Guajaló bridge in the south of Quito. It has been a peaceful journey #marchas22m [es]

@ceppdi [es], which is a twitter page that posts news and stories on Public Policy and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, re-tweeted a photo from user Marco Tituaña:

ECUADOR. RT @elmarko34: [es] “Correa, minero, el agua es lo primero” corea la @marchavida [es] q llega dsd el norte http://yfrog.com/kewjutkj [es]

ECUADOR. RT @elmarko34 [es]: “Correa, miner, water comes first” chants the @marchavida [es] coming from the north http://yfrog.com/kewjutkj [es]

The account of the Center of Economic and Social Rights (@CDESecuador) [es] updated on the arrival of the march in the Ecuadorean capital throughout the day:

Nos informan q gente d Esmeraldas, d los manglares, compañeros afrodescendientes se suman a la marcha! Exigimos agua y vida!

News that people from Esmeraldas, from the mangroves, our brothers and sisters of African descent are joining the march! We demand water and life!

@DerechosMinados [es], a group against mining in Ecuador, responded to criticism and shared various imagines of the arrival, such as this tweet:

No somos 4 no somos 10, Correa economista, aprende a contar bien #marchavida [es] http://yfrog.com/objyhgtpj [es]

We are not 4, we aren't 10, Correa economist, learn to count properly #marchavida [es] http://yfrog.com/objyhgtpj [es]

Also with a photo, and referring to the words of the government, journalist Fernando Astudillo (@ferastudillo) [es] reported:

Correa en P Sto Domingo dice q marcha indígena es un fracaso y q no reunieron ni 4mil Vía @Sugeyhajjar [es] http://yfrog.com/nu5hgumj [es]

Correa in P Sto Domingo says that the indigenous march is a failure and that not even 4 thousand came. Via @Sugeyhajjar [es] http://yfrog.com/nu5hgumj [es]

Jaime Plaza (@jplazaecu) [es] and Nelson Piedra (@nopiedra) [es] cited these reports on the number of persons who arrived in Quito:

A eso d las 14:30 la marcha indígena q salió desde Zamora Ch. llegó a El Arbolito. Son miles. #marchas22m [es] http://pic.twitter.com/Zni1hgRZ [es]

At about 2:30 pm the march of indigenous people that left from Zamora Ch. arrived in El Arbolito. There are thousands of them. #marchas22m [es] http://pic.twitter.com/Zni1hgRZ [es]

#Ecuador [es] “los cuatro pelagatos”, que salieron de El Pangui, Llegaron a #Quito [es] multiplicados como peces, como el maíz.

#Ecuador [es] “the four nobodies”, that left El Pangui, have arrived in #Quito [es] multiplied like fish, like corn.

@DerechosMinados [es] broadcast another photo with this message:

#marchavida [es] llego a quito – SIN PLATA DL ESTADO, PURO PUEBLO ORGANIZADO!!! http://yfrog.com/mmdcncvj [es]

#marchavida [es] arrived in Quito- WITHOUT STATE FUNDS THE PEOPLE ARE COMPLETELY ORGANIZED!!! http://yfrog.com/mmdcncvj [es]

The newspaper La Hora (@lahoraecuador) [es] also posted photos of the march:

#Marchas22M [es] Foto panorámica de la #marchaindígena [es] http://yfrog.com/g0aamjxj [es]

#Marchas22M [es] Panoramic photo of the #marchaindígena [es] http://yfrog.com/g0aamjxj [es]

Meanwhile Indymedia Ecuador (@indymediaecuado) [es] declared:

Esperamos objetividad de los medios tanto publicos como privados #marchavida [es] sobre pasa lo previsto http://pic.twitter.com/mrATtx0K [es]

We expect neutrality from the public and private media #marchavida [es] has surpassed expectations http://pic.twitter.com/mrATtx0K [es]

And David Rosero (@davidroserow) [es] declared:

El gran derrotado del día de hoy es el autoritarismo, la sobradez, el insulto, el atropello y sobre todo el miedo! #MarchadelosPueblos [es]

The great loser today is authoritarianism, arrogance, insult, outrage, and most especially, fear! #MarchadelosPueblos [es]

The following photos are from user Vlady Cruz (@vladycruz) [es], who kindly allowed [es] them to be used here:

#marchavida empieza su recorrido al centro de Quito

#marchavida begins its path towards the center of Quito

#marchavida cerca de Guajalo

#marchavida near to Guajalo

La #marchavida llega a la Villa Flora

La #marchavida arrives at Villa Flora

#marchavida llega al arbolito

#marchavida arrives at arbolito

La lluvia acompaña a la #marchavida

Rain greets #marchavida

There are also some videos on YouTube:

In the evening the police blocked the March from entering the area of the National Assembly, but participants awaited a response [es] in Parque el Arbolito, in the heavy rain [es], in order to enter. Indymedia Ecuador (@indymediaecuado) [es] reported:

Pese a los ofrecimientos de @fcorderoc [es] [Asambleísta] la policía no permite el paso a la #marchavida [es] a la asamblea nacional. http://twitpic.com/8zwtlh [es]

In spite of the efforts of @fcorderoc [es] [Assemblyman] the police are not allowing the #marchavida [es] to pass through to the National Assembly. http://twitpic.com/8zwtlh [es]

This caused a few clashes, as the Amazonian ecological organization's account La Hormiga Ecuador reported (@sinchihormiga) [es]:

Pequenos incidentes se registran en el parque de el arbolito entre indigenas y policias! http://twitpic.com/8zwzdh [es]

Minor incidents are occurring in the Parque el Arbolito between indigenous peoples and the police! http://twitpic.com/8zwzdh [es]

Nevertheless when it seemed like everything was coming to a head, the Twitter account of the Ecuadorean police force (@PoliciaEcuador) [es] tweeted:

Elementos policiales organiza la comitiva que pasará a la #AsambleaNacional [es] http://pic.twitter.com/dE4deDsO [es]

Individuals from the police force are organizing the delegation that will be allowed into the #AsambleaNacional [es] [National Assembly] http://pic.twitter.com/dE4deDsO [es]

Things deteriorated. Galo Perez (@galoperezc) [es] and Vlady Cruz (@vladycruz) [es] shared the following tweets with photos:

Llega segunda tanqueta #marchas22m [es] http://yfrog.com/kg9bheej [es]

A second armed car arrives #marchas22m [es] http://yfrog.com/kg9bheej [es]

La policia lanza gas a #marchavida [es] http://twitpic.com/8zx3v0 [es]

The police launch teargas at #marchavida [es] http://twitpic.com/8zx3v0 [es]

Finally the delegation passed through to the Assembly. As reported by @DerechosMinados [es]:

Fuerte control policial impid paso d #marchavida [es] pronunciarc ante @asambleaecuador  [es] Dirigentes pasaron..Miles d personas aun en l #Arbolito [es]

Heavy police control preventing #marchavida [es] from passing and protesting at @asambleaecuador [es] [the National Assembly] Leaders allowed to pass. Thousands still in the #Arbolito [es]

However according to Twitter reports they were not immediately allowed to pass through:

@DerechosMinados [es]: La @asambleaecuador [es] no recibe ni a los dirigentes ni al mandato de la #marchavida! [es] #ecuador [es] #Quito [es]

@DerechosMinados [es]: The @asambleaecuador [es] refuses both the leaders and the mandate of the #marchavida [es]! #ecuador  [es] #Quito [es]

@marchavida: [es] #marcha [es] por el agua se reúne para decidir la mejor forma de entregar sus propuestas a la Asamblea.

@marchavida [es]: #marcha [es] for water came together to decide the best way to present their proposals to the Assembly.

@galoperezc [es]: Inician fuertes enfrentamientos entre marcha y policía #marchas22m [es] http://yfrog.com/oepzcotj [es]

@galoperezc [es]: Strong clashes begin between protesters and police #marchas22m [es] http://yfrog.com/oepzcotj [es]

@PoliciaEcuador [es] Policías heridos con lanzas en las afueras de la #AsambleaNacional [es]  http://pic.twitter.com/0APvsiTi [es]

@PoliciaEcuador [es] Police injured by spears outside of the #AsambleaNacional [es] http://pic.twitter.com/0APvsiTi [es]

Finally the leaders of the march were received in the Assembly, as Diego Pallero (@dpallerismo) [es] and Lupita Amaya (‏@LupitaAmaya)‏ [es] reported:

Algunos dirigentes lograron llegar hasta la entrada de la asamblea luego de los incidentes #marcha22M [es] http://pic.twitter.com/DUL18GYX [es]

Some leaders were able to get through to the entrance of the Assembly during the incidents #marcha22M [es] http://pic.twitter.com/DUL18GYX [es]

Presidente de la Asamblea Cordero recibe a Dirigentes indígenas de la #marcha22M [es]

Assembly president Cordero receives indigenous Leaders of the #marcha22M [es]

Maria Fernanda Yañez (@feryanez) reported what happened while the marchers were waiting in Parque el Arbolito and later shared a photograph:

@feryanez [es]  Se espera la resolución q de la comisión q esta en la asamblea para decidir q hacer con los indígenas agolpados en el arbolito #marcha22M [es] @UNquito [es] http://yfrog.com/gy43702838j [es]

@feryanez [es] They are awaiting for the resolution of the commission that is in the assembly in order to decide what to do with the indigenous people who are gathered in el arbolito.  #marcha22M [es] @UNquito [es]

@feryanez Se prendió la fiesta en el arbolito. La gente baila al ritmo de la Coya,#marcha22M@UNquitohttp://yfrog.com/gy43702838j

@feryanez The party has started in el arbolito. People are dancing to the rhythm of Coya.#marcha22M [es] @UNquito [es] http://yfrog.com/gy43702838j [es]

Finally Veronica Salgado (@verosalgado) [es] shared a link that shows the discussions between the indigenous leaders and the assemblymen live:

Siga en vivo el diálogo de la @asambleaecuador [es] con la dirigencia indígena a través de @laradioasamblea [es] http://tinyurl.com/6s6ng4n [es] #marcha22M [es]

Follow the live dialogue of the @asambleaecuador  [es] with indigenous leaders via @laradioasamblea [es] http://tinyurl.com/6s6ng4n [es] #marcha22M [es]

We will continue to monitor the citizens reactions and reports about this march that promises to continue its fight against large-scale mining in Ecuador.

Original version of this post first published at the personal blog [es] of Juan Arellano.

2 comments

  • […] Ecuador: The March for Life Arrives in Quito, Juan Arellano, English translation by Danielle Martineau (Español aquí): On its arrival in Quito on March 22, the March for Life was met with support from one side and opposition from another, including criticism from the government and police resistance. Ecuadorean netizens reported during the day on social networks by sharing photos, videos, reports, and reactions on the arrival of the march in the capital of Ecuador. – En su llegada a Quito el 22 de marzo, la Marcha por la Vida se encontró con el apoyo de unos y el repudio de otros, incluyendo críticas del gobierno y represión policial. Los internautas ecuatorianos informaron durante el día en las redes sociales, compartiendo fotos, videos, reportes, y reacciones a la llegada de la marcha a la capital ecuatoriana. […]

  • Snapdragon

    Magnificent! A glorious example of People Power and democracy at work!

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