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March 24, 2006

Indigenous Activists in Ecuador Suspend Protests

In Ecuador, indigenous activists have temporarily suspended protests against the Free Trade Area of the Americas. On Thursday police fired tear gas at hundreds of student and indigenous protesters during a march on the government palace in Quito. On Tuesday the government declared a state of emergency in four areas giving the police and military power to ban public gatherings and make arrests. Indigenous activists say the demonstrations are being temporarily halted after 11 days to allow the protesters to regroup and to give them a chance plan new actions with greater radicalism. "The indigenous communities have mobilized themselves in the places in which they live. In the different provinces of the country they have shut down the highways and have blocked the transportation of resources to the cities," said Alexandra Meida of the Ecuadorian group Ecological Action. "This is the form of protest that is occurring. The government has responded by militarizing these zones - the soldiers and the police are completely armed. They are strongly suppressing the indigenous population. Via today's headlines at Democracy Now

Posted by cat at 12:27 PM