The city Ecuadorian Puyo was besieged by protesters on Wednesday, without police custody and in crisis due to lack of food, after a violent night in which indigenous protesters set fire to a police station, looted businesses and attacked public and private property.
The violent day has also left a protester dead, Byron Guatatoca, due to the impact of a tear gas, three policemen kidnapped, 18 missing and 18 police vehicles incinerated, while the markets without food supply due to the strict blockade of the protesters of the points access to that city, located 152 kilometers east of the capital and at the entrance to the Amazon.
Look: Last minute of the protests and national strike in Ecuador, LIVE: strong clashes are recorded near Congress
Iván Illanes, representative of the indigenous nationalities of the province of Pastaza, whose capital is Puyo, said in a press conference that “as inhabitants of the province and in use of our rights… to guarantee (security) to the communities and the people” the army has been asked to take control of the order of the city. He also promised that the demonstrators will give guarantees for the activation of commerce, transportation and the mobilization of private vehicles and people and that they will avoid any confrontation with the uniformed men at the blocked points.
In addition, they handed over two policemen who were in their possession, although the whereabouts of the rest of the missing and kidnapped policemen were not reported.
The indigenous protests to demand that the government of President Guillermo Lasso reduce the price of gasoline and other demands have been going on for more than a week and have worsened mainly in at least six provinces of the country, including Pastaza, where Puyo is located. On the day the government said that it does not accept the conditions imposed by the indigenous to negotiate.
Diego Escobar, inhabitant of Puyo and who was in the protests, declared by telephone to The Associated Press that “there is a lot of fear, fear and anxiety on the part of the population; today we are with the commercial premises completely closed, some protected with boards and wires for fear of more looting, because there is no presence of police and military.”
“This is a besieged city, without the possibility of fuel or food entering, the situation is critical for those of us in Puyo, because there is food shortage and we are perhaps the city most affected by the national strike.to,” he added.
The Minister of the Interior, Patricio Carrillo, said in a press conference hours before that in that town, with 70,000 inhabitants, “We cannot guarantee public order…the entrance to the city is besieged with weapons, ancestral weapons and explosives.”
He reported that on Tuesday night the indigenous people staged “the most serious incident that has occurred in recent years in the city of Puyo, it was an extremely violent day” for which “we doubt the proposals for dialogue that the leaders of a organization that under social protest commits all kinds of… crimes,” he said.
Juan Guatatoca, son of the deceased in the Puyo protests, told the AP that “the truth was that what happened yesterday was very hard, it happened in front of my eyes, I could see how my father fell dead. It is very hard for my mother and my brothers. I want justice for what they did to my father.” He lives in the community of Pindo Grande, near that city.