Ecuador's indigenous peoples marched to demand results from the government

On November 27, 500 people from various indigenous communities and organizations embarked on a joint trek from Puyo in the Amazon to the capital, Quito. Along the way, more and more people joined, and two weeks later, about 10 people marched into the Plaza Grande in Quito, the final destination of the march, to meet Ecuador's President Lenín Moreno and hand over the demands of the indigenous peoples.

Behind the demonstration was CONAIE, an umbrella organization that brings together all the indigenous peoples of Ecuador. Most of those who took part in the march came from the Amazon and the Andes, but all the different indigenous peoples of Ecuador were represented and had gathered under a common agenda consisting of several different issues. The demonstration was based on the fact that the President of Ecuador has not fulfilled what he previously promised and that the dialogue between the indigenous movement and the president has so far not yielded results.

The demands made by indigenous peoples included the cessation of permits for mining and oil extraction in indigenous territories, the reintroduction of bilingual intercultural education, amnesty for imprisoned activists, the fight against corruption at all levels and the institutionalization of dialogue between the government and CONAIE.

Photo: Linnea Kronebrant.

The struggle is about fundamental rights and the right to self-determination in indigenous societies. They refuse to give up their territories and water sources. In a twitter message, CONAIE wrote that they believe that dialogue is the basis of a democracy, but that they are now in need of results. The indigenous movement had gathered under the hashtag #ResultadosYa which means results now! The aim was to demand clear answers and concrete results from the Moreno government, and once they had been received by the government, CONAIE again tweeted that they did not intend to leave the government building until they had ensured that the requirements were met.

Among other things, Moreno promised that no more mining permits would be granted in indigenous territories and that the bilingual educational institutes would be reintroduced. CONAIE welcomed these openings on the part of the President, but promised that they will be vigilant and constantly strive to ensure that the Government's commitments really emerge within the given deadlines.

It was a powerful show of strength that took place in Plaza Grande on December 11, and it became clear that Ecuador's indigenous peoples, who make up about a third of the population, are an actor to be reckoned with.

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