Ecuadorean police detained ten people during Thursday’s “Indígnate Ecuador” (which translates to Be Outraged Ecuador) march against a series of neoliberal economic reforms and political persecution, most notably against former president Rafael Correa.
Those detained were charged with causing a public disorder. Via Twitter, the police said that three of those arrested also had criminal records for robbery and homicide, among others offenses.
Through social media, civil society organizations and citizens condemned the police for obstructing the peaceful protest and arresting at least five people before the rally began for handing out posters that invited others to march.
Foro de los Comunes, an organization of academics and activists, tweeted Thursday “Today | Five detained by 15 policemen in five patrol cars for pasting posters inviting people to march. The government of ‘tenderness’ and the ‘outstretched hand.’ #IndígnateEcuador.”
One incident of violence documented by TeleSUR's reporting team occurred when a group of 30 protesters attempted to bypass a police blockade that kept them from reaching the Carondelet, Ecuador's presidential palace. The event took place as thousands more, who were protesting against a series of reforms made by Lenin Moreno’s government continued to walk peacefully to Domingo square, where they gathered to hear speeches by political leaders.
Ecuadorean media outlets have been accused of underreporting or mischaracterizing the number of protesters or the cause of the protest by observers; they have also been accused of exaggerating the incidents of violence that occurred.
Carlos Perez, a member of Quito’s city council, said on Twitter: "Do these newspapers close their edition at noon, they don’t have reporters in Quito or are they deliberately hiding what happened yesterday afternoon? What bothers me the most is @el_telegrafo a public outlet that should be an example of an independent and plural press.”
El Telegrafo, a state-owned Spanish-language daily newspaper based in Guayaquil, claimed there were only 1,000 protesters in Quito and both El Telegrafo and El Comercio, a privately owned newspaper based in Quito, stated that the march was motivated solely by the recent order for preventive detention of Correa. Critics claim, and a review of the reporting confirms both failed to report that the protesters were also against the government's policy of debt forgiveness for the business sector, the Productive Development Law, and austerity measures that have affected Campesinos, and the cut the budget of the Ministry of Social and Economic Inclusion.
"First, First First is the Worker. Later, later the money of the bourgeois," citizens chanted as the also rejected a series of tax breaks given to foreign investors.
Media outlets also failed to cover the placards and chants, which highlighted the press' role in the campaign of persecution against Correa.
One of the signs carried yesterday reads "Press. You will not deceive us again, TODAY you occupy power with political hate to quench your thirst for revenge."