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News ::
ecuador sees street battle in anti-ftaa mass mobilization (english)
31 Oct 2002
Modified: 04:02:29 PM
in the opening hours of the highly anticipated counter-demonstrations to the FTAA confab in quito, ecuador, the university student federation initiated resistance to a police fence around the event site. soon, the streets were alive with a battle between hundreds of young people hurling rocks and molotov cocktails, and harried police troops, who managed to fend off the attack. coming days however, promise further action, with the numbers of the counter-demonstrators only growing...
Hundred of students clash with riot police in anti-FTAA protests
in Quito,
> Ecuador. October 30, 2002
>
> Walking down the usually bustling Avenida 12 de Octubre had a
significantly
> different feel on Wednesday morning. It felt like a town in the
old west
> waiting for a showdown to occur. It being Ecuador, of course it
was only a
> matter of time. Hundreds of camouflaged riot police cordoned off
major
streets
> in preparation for clashes with anti-FTAA protesters. The area
closed off
to
> traffic included the Ecuadorian version of the World Trade
Center where in
> March of 2002 protests against Plan Colombia and U.S.
intervention turned
> violent and a protester was shot.
> At about 11:30 a.m. the Federacion de Estudiantes Universitarios
(Federation of
> University Students) were the first group to challenge the
closing of the
> streets. Hundreds of young men and women pushed and pulled at
the line of
> shield-bearing police and the fence they had erected across Ave.
12 de
Octubre.
> Batons came cracking down on any hands that were caught pulling
or pushing
on
> the fence.
> Men and women shouted at the police to drop there shields and
join them.
> phrases such as "Stop defending the gringo empire" and
"You are Ecuadorian
too,
> fight ALCA (FTAA) not us" were heard.
> Evetually those gave way to more heated exchanges.
> After a series of struggles, which caused the cops to break
their line a
few
> times, police charged at protesters causing them to disperse.
But the
> rapidly-growing crowd came back more energized and angry. Rocks
began
flying.
> Small ones at first and then larger ones. Soon the police line
was being
> showered with rocks of all sizes and anything people could get
their hands
on.
> Eventually a molotov came flying in, but did not ignite as well
as the
half
> dozen other Molotov Cocktails thrown. As pressure from the
students
increased
> the police responded by moving in two armored personnel
vehicles. After a
brief
> regrouping the students went at the APV's with a fervor. A light
pole was
> ripped out of the ground and hurled at one of the vehicles as
well as
hundreds
> of rocks. Soon protesters were climbing on the APV's as they
rolled
forward and
> back. With rocks and sticks they bashed the vehicles trying to
break
anything
> that would break on it.
> Police once again responded, but this time with tear gas,
causing a major
> disbursement. Only about a hundred dedicated militants remained
at the
front
> lines still hurling objects and obscenties at police. As more
tear gas was
> fired, shot at the protesters themsleves, the crowd eventually
pulled
further
> back and toward side streets. Police moved in with the heavy
vehicles and
gave
> mild pursuit followed by even more tear gas.
> This marks the first violent demonstration in Quito during the
mobilizations
> these days that mark the FTAA Summit. More are sure to happen as
the
> mobilizations increase in number and frequency. Logon to on
> www.ecuador.indymedia.org for more information.
See also:
www.stopftaa.org
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bravo (english)
31 Oct 2002
if only north american activists weren't such a bunch of wusses