Havana. March 20, 2006
Ecuador begins second week of anti-FTA protests
QUITO, March 20 (PL).-Ecuador today is starting another week of indigenous mobilizations against the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States, with marches and road blocks in various provinces.
"The national mobilization will continue and will be more forceful and courageous," with more demonstrations throughout the nation from dawn this Monday," states a communiqué from the Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador Federation (CONAIE).
Despite violent repression by the police forces, the indigenous movement has warned Alredo Palacio, president of that country, that if he persists in signing the FTA there will be a popular uprising.
The CONAIE noted that the unmeasured use of force by this transitional administration demonstrates its fear and is making the popular clamor for the just demand for a more worthy and sovereign life all the stronger.
At least 25 people were arrested last night and others sought refuge during a police ambush of the peaceful indigenous march as it approached the capital.
The marchers from Amazonia were brutally repressed by the forces of order close to the Guamaní district, some eight kilometers south of Quito, but managed to regroup and should enter Quito in the next few hours.
The CONAIE charged the government with the fate of those arrested and reiterated that the use of force would not halt the demonstrating population, who are to increase roadblocks in the Sierra and Amazonia area.
High school students have also announced a march in support of the indigenous movement and its protest against the FTA, which will provoke bankruptcy among farmers and artisans and submit the country to U.S. domination.
Labor organizations are to meet this week to discuss events and growing mobilizations of the pharmaceutical, cattle farming and small farmer guilds on the coast, as well as university and polytechnics.