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News ::
Huge Anti-FTAA Actions in Quito (english)
31 Oct 2002
40 Women took over a McDonald's yesterday as part of the huge anti-FTAA demonstrations in Quito, Ecuador. ENLACE, a collective of indigenous, farmer, labor, and other social organizations, reports on the Quito uprising.

Quito - October 30th, 2002

Press Release

Tomorrow, more protests are expected, organized by the indigenous and farmers’ organizations CONAIE, CONFEUNASSC and other national and continental social organizations.

Today protest actions against the negotiations of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) in Quito grew more intense, carried through by various social groups from Ecuador and other Latin American countries. While experts from around the continent debated the effects of the FTAA and its alternatives in events of the “Another America is Possible” conference, social groups organized mobilizations against the neoliberal initiative throughout the city.

At 11.30 am, forty women from the “Women’s Movement for Life”, representing various popular organizations, peacefully occupied the transnational “McDonald’s” located in the streets “6 de Diciembre” and “Patria”. From the perspective of women from working-class urban sectors, the FTAA will have a negative impact on the life of all of Latin America’s population and especially in Ecuador. One piece of evidence is that the potatoes sold as french fries in McDonald’s are not purchased in Ecuador, even though the country is an important potato producer. Instead, they are bought from producers in the trans-national’s home country, where the staple crop is subsidized with billions of dollars annually. The resulting crisis in the agricultural sector forces Ecuadorian farmers to migrate to urban areas or seek work and risk maltreatment as illegal employees in other countries.

At about the same time in the morning, hundreds of students from the Ecuadorian University Federation were attempting to reach the Swissôtel in the “Avenida 12 de Octubre” in order to voice their rejection of the FTAA negotiations in the face of the parallel business conference being held there. The march was intercepted by police lines and dispersed with tear gas. Two students were wounded.

Marches from the north and south of the country arrived to Quito at around the same time. The marches were organized by FENOCIN (National Federation of Campesino, Indigenous, and Afro-Ecuadorian Organizations). Hundreds of indigenous and farmers’ representatives of the FENOCIN converged in the park “El Arbolito”, where an outdoor catholic mass was held and leaders of the organization announced their stand against the FTAA negotiations.

Tomorrow, thousands of farmers are expected to enter the capital, arriving from the northern and southern parts of the country. Organized by the indigenous and farmers’ organizations CONAIE and CONFEUNASSC, the protesters will symbolically take the city in demonstration of their rejection of the FTAA negotiations. The march for life with the motto “Another Integration is Possible” arrived in Quito after travelling hundreds of kilometers from the provinces of Zamora in the south and Carchi in the north. At this moment the marchers have congregated in the outskirts of Quito (in Cutuglahua in the south and Calderón in the north), and will begin moving into the city at six o’clock tomorrow morning. They will present a giant letter, which has been constructed throu! ghout the course of the marches, expressing the organizations’ rejection of the FTAA. César Cabrera, the CONFEUNASSC’s president, announced that the days of resistance, marches and discussions of political alternatives, carried out by Latin American social organizations, constitute one more aspect of social opposition to the free trade agreements negotiated behind closed doors.

Urban student and environmental organizations have also announced anti-FTAA protests to take place tomorrow in various parts of the city. Confrontations between protesters and security forces are likely to occur, considering the presence of heavy police contingents surrounding the official meeting sites.


ENLACE is a collective of indigenous, farmer, labour, and other social organizations linked to the anti-FTAA protests. Its objective is to facilitate the expression of the voices of the social movements in the media. We are available to provide contacts and updated information on the actions and events of social organizations and movements in relation to the FTAA.
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