QUITO ( Associated Press) — Security forces arrested Tuesday the president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, who called and encouraged demonstrations against the government. President Guillermo Lasso argued that the arrest occurred after acts of vandalism committed against public and private property.
The organization called for various mobilizations, for an indefinite period of time, demanding a reduction in the price of gasoline, the fixing of the minimum price for agricultural products and a moratorium on the extension of mining and oil extraction.
Suspected demonstrators destroyed police vehicles, attacked and damaged private vehicles, broke into private farms of flower growers in the center of the country, and destroyed public property in the center of the capital.
Marlon Santi, coordinator of Pachakutik, an indigenous party, called on his Twitter account for the intervention of international human rights organizations in the face of what happened and called for Iza’s immediate release. “Mr. President, it is not the way to treat those of us who have presented proposals with dignity, it has been several months that you have not given an answer,” he tweeted.
In a statement on his Twitter account, the president stated that “the arrest of the masterminds and perpetrators of these violent acts has begun, now it’s up to the prosecution and the judiciary to act, because no one is above the law”. Ecuadorians “cannot be victims of vandals who only want to cause chaos, my obligation is to guarantee families the possibility of moving freely,” he added.
The police confirmed in the same social network the arrest during the early hours “for presumption of crimes” in a sector called Pastocalle, in the Andean center of the country.
“We are not going to tolerate chaos, anarchy and vandalism in the country,” said Homero Castañer, Vice Minister of Governance. He argued that the arrest occurred because “a message of impunity cannot be given” to those who paralyze public services, close roads, and destroy public and private property.
In videos published by that indigenous organization, a group of soldiers and police can be seen intercepting a vehicle where Iza was and then loading it onto a patrol car to take it to a detention center in Quito. In previous days, Iza also called on his followers to overthrow the government of President Lasso.
In a statement on social networks, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities described the detention as illegal. He called “our organizational structure to radicalize the de facto measures for the freedom of our maximum leader and for the dignity of our struggle.”