Ecuador riots injure 83 policemen, results in 47 arrests

Eighty three policemen injured and 47 protesters arrested during demonstrations in Ecuador opposing proposed constitutional amendments which would remove presidential term limits

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Demonstrators march in Quito, Ecuador

Several local and international news outlets have reported that up to 83 policemen have been injured and 47 protestors arrested on Saturday, during demonstrations in Ecuador against President Rafael Correa, who plans to run for a fourth term in office.

The largest protests, where the most arrests and injuries occurred, took place in Ecuador's capital Quito, Vice Interior Minister Diego Fuentes told a local TV station on Thursday.

In some clashes protesters wielded sticks and threw stones, while police forces responded by firing teargas in order to split up crowds.

Protesters also blocked the roads and erected barricades, in six towns of 24 provinces, including the Pan-American Highway to Peru.

Transportation, education and health services were all operating in Quito, defying the call for a general strike.

Ecuador's head of police, Patricio Pazmino, told local TV station Gama that two police officers are in critical condition.

“The level of violence during the protests was unbelievable,” Pazmino said.

The demonstrations involved diverse non-governmental organisations and hundreds of citizens not officially affiliated with any group - such as activists, doctors, union workers, and retirees.

The main demands of the protesters, who held placards saying “Yes to democracy, no to dictatorship,” is that proposed constitutional amendments, including ones which would authorise the indefinite re-election of the president, must be dropped.

The demonstrators are also opposed to the Water Act, which privatises water supplies, and Decree 16, which they say limits the autonomy of social organisations.

“We will never set up a dialogue with the violent. There is nothing to discuss with these people who are causing so much damage to the country,” Correa said, according to Agence France-Presse.

According to Ecuador's Interior Ministry, protesters used explosives during the demonstrations and damaged public property. The ministry also said that the police will continue operations until Sunday, The New Age reported.

TRTWorld and agencies