The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Ecuador: One Dead And 49 Wounded During Protests

QUITO (Dow Jones)--Protests of members of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, or CONAIE, in the Amazonas region left at least nine natives and 40 policemen wounded and one dead.

Police clashed with indigenous people that were protesting against a proposed law regulating water, and against mining and oil activity in Ecuador.

CONAIE's protests started on Monday and finished the same day, but Indian groups from the Amazonas region continued the blockade.

The Amazonas region is the heart for oil activity in the Andean country.

Luis Jaramillo, president of State oil company Petroecuador, told Dow Jones Newswires on Wednesday that the oil activity is normal and military personal were protecting oil facilities.

"On Monday we had some problems but right now all is normal," Jaramillo said.

At a press conference late Wednesday, President Rafael Correa said that "tremendously violent groups armed with shotguns and rifles waited for police and received them with gunshots,"

"For this violent act we today must lament the death of a brother Ecuadorian, Correa added.

Previously, Government Minister Gustavo Jalkh has said that Indians wounded 29 police officers.

The Ecuador's Amazon Indian federation, Confenaie, said that two Shuar Indians were killed and nine wounded by gunshots in the clash.

Media reports showed indigenous groups blocking roads and protesting in several places of the Amazonas region.

Correa called for dialogue to end the protests and said that the government is waiting to dialogue with indigenous people "with open arms."

"We never want to see this again, killing among Ecuadorians," Correa said.

Over the weekend, Correa said indigenous leaders and leaders of the opposition parties are seeking to destabilize his government.

Last week, Ecuador's biggest teachers union, UNE, and students launched protests against educational reforms proposed by the National Secretary of Planning, Semplades.

Correa is facing the first big protests since he took office in January 2007.

Local analysts said that President Correa's honeymoon with some powerful unions and indigenous groups may be coming to an end.

Correa, a U.S.-trained economist and self-avowed socialist, was reelected to a new four-year term in April, under Ecuador's new constitution.

Correa took office for his second term on August 10, vowing to deepen the socialist reforms he started since taking office in 2007.


-By Mercedes Alvaro, Dow Jones Newswires; 5939-9728-653;

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