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.
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.
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. @plurinacionales [es] posted the following images of the arrival of the march:
Meanwhile the Twitter account for the Ecuadorian Presidency (Presidencia_Ec) [es] informed:
Quito journalist Susana Morán (@susanamorg) [es] reported:
@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:
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!
@DerechosMinados [es], a group against mining in Ecuador, responded to criticism and shared various imagines of the arrival, such as this tweet:
Also with a photo, and referring to the words of the government, journalist Fernando Astudillo (@ferastudillo) [es] reported:
@DerechosMinados [es] broadcast another photo with this message:
The newspaper La Hora (@lahoraecuador) [es] also posted photos of the march:
Meanwhile Indymedia Ecuador (@indymediaecuado) [es] declared:
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!
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:
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]
Nevertheless when it seemed like everything was coming to a head, the Twitter account of the Ecuadorean police force (@PoliciaEcuador) [es] tweeted:
Finally the delegation passed through to the Assembly. As reported by @DerechosMinados [es]:
However according to Twitter reports they were not immediately allowed to pass through:
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]
Finally Veronica Salgado (@verosalgado) [es] shared a link that shows the discussions between the indigenous leaders and the assemblymen live:
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.