Ecuador Indigenous accuse state of crimes against humanity

QUITO, Ecuador — Katy Mochoa marched down the streets of Quito on Oct. 12, holding in one hand the corner of a large Wiphala flag — the rainbow-hued banner of the Andean Indigenous peoples — and throwing her other fist in the air, shouting, “Assassins! Assassins!” as she and other protesters passed government buildings. Mochoa was one of dozens of Indigenous leaders who marched to the Attorney General’s Office to submit a demand that four top government officials be investigated for crimes against humanity for their role in the violent 11-day anti-austerity protests in October of 2019. “There are many people that the police shot [tear gas canisters] at directly, without hesitation, and that cannot be left to impunity,” Mochoa, a Kichwa Indigenous woman from the Amazonian province of Napo, told Mongabay. The Indigenous movement was the largest organized body present in last year’s demonstrations, its members showing up in massive numbers not only to protest against the IMF austerity measures but also against increasing oil and mining extraction activity on or near their territory. Over the past two years, President Lenin Moreno has been promoting the Southeast Oil Round, an international oil auction in the Amazon rainforest, home to several indigenous communities who oppose these activities. He also expanded oil extraction in the Yasuni National Park, which also encroach on the Intangible Zone where two of the country’s non-contacted indigenous nations live. Indigenous communities in Ecuador have a long history of being organized and defending their territory. Revolts largely…This article was originally published on Mongabay
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