Ecuador’s Indigenous People Marching 10 Days to Protest President Rafael Correa

Read more

The indigenous groups of Ecuador are the latest to band together against President Rafael Correa and his government. On Sunday, they set out on a march from El Pangui, near the southern tip of the country, to Correa’s office in Quito, which is something like 250 miles away, a trip slightly longer than the distance between Miami and Disney World. The 10-day march is expected to end on Aug. 13, according to PanAm Post.

Before starting the March for Democracy and Dignity, which was organized by Ecuador’s Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (CONAIE), the group asked Mother Nature for her blessing. There are seven things they are looking for, as detailed on a sheet of paper that reads “Vamos por Libertad.” “We want peace, tranquility, respect, cordiality,” said Salvador Quishpe, the Zamora Chinchipe governor for the Pachakutik party. “That’s all we seek with this march: respect, above all, respect for the dignity of our history, our ancestors, our children –for the dignity of our peoples.” The list, which was signed by leaders, also ask for the right to intercultural, bilingual education, and restitution of land to the “legitimate owners.”

The group is also against indefinite re-elections, and the government must see the group as a threat, because five buses carrying indigenous peoples were stopped by police, reportedly in order to prevent them from getting to El Pangui for the start of the march. That didn’t stop them; they got off the buses and walked the rest of the way to join the other marchers.

Interestingly enough, Jorge Herrera, president of CONAIE, said that Correa and his people are trying to negotiate after almost nine years of neglecting the issues of indigenous peoples. And if the late June protest that brought 400,000 people against Correa is any indication, then people in the country are looking for a change.

Check out more pictures from the march below: