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

Ecuadorian President Says Indian Died in Protests

QUITO – Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa confirmed the death of a member of the Shuar tribe in Amazonia during a protest against a water bill pushed by his administration, and he called a dialogue session with the leaders of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities, or Conaie.

Correa in a message to the nation Wednesday night said he deplored the death of the Indian and called the Conaie leadership to meet to state their positions and sit down to discuss their concerns, especially the fear that the administration’s amendment would allow the privatization of water.

The autopsy on the Indian confirmed that his death was caused when he was struck in the head by a shotgun pellet which fatally damaged his brain, Correa said.

About 40 policemen were injured by shotgun pellets evidently fired by violent demonstrators, the president said.

Conaie blamed the government for the violent acts, accused the police of abuse of force and said that it will not attend the dialogue session called by Correa, whom they accused of having “stained (himself) with blood.”

Correa said that a certain sector of the indigenous leadership, of Amazonia in particular, had decided to continue the demonstrations that began on Monday but which were suspended the same day by Conaie to allow a dialogue to be undertaken.

The president once again said that the Indian protest was not valid, remarking that the ideas of Conaie coincide with those of his government, and he denied that his water bill allows the privatization of water, stating rather that it prohibits it.

“The police acted with all possible prudence,” the president said, adding that the violent acts occurred Wednesday on a bridge over the Upano River, in Morona Santiago, where officers were received by “tremendously violent groups ... armed with shotguns and carbines.”

The Shuar tribe member who died during the protest was a bilingual professor, National Union of Educators, or UNE, president Mery Zamora, said Thursday.

Zamora said on local Canal Uno television that the teachers nationwide “are in mourning ... (because) the person who died, the one they murdered in Macas was a bilingual comrade teacher ... director of the Sacred Heart school.” EFE

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