The indigenous Kichua group ECUARUNARI, which belongs to the largest indigenous national organization Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), is calling their supporters to march between November 4-14 against mining operations in the country, citing the alleged deterioration of the environment. Demonstrators are set to march from the Zamora Chinchipe Province in southern parts of the country to Quito. ECUARUNARI initially announced the march on October 2 through a statement which requested President Lenin Moreno to eliminate all mining operations on their lands, as well as leeway to protest freely without fear of judicial prosecution. A public referendum celebrated on February 4 compelled the government to eliminate existing and potential metal mining activities. Click here to see a map detailing the march route between November 4-14.
Considering that the action was announced on October 2 by one of the largest indigenous groups in Ecuador, turnover is likely to be significant. While ECUARUNARI does not have a record of violent actions, there is still potential for scuffles between activists and security forces in Quito’s city center on November 14, as they will intend to deliver their demands to President Lenin Moreno in person at Plaza Grande (Square), the Carondelet Presidential Palace. Considering Moreno has been reluctant to ban metal mining in the country, the government is highly unlikely to fulfill EXUARUNARI’s expectations. This assessment is underscored by the fact Ecuador is looking forward to expanding copper exploitation by means of market-partnerships between the state-owned National Minery Enterprise of Ecuador (Enami) and foreign mining companies. Mining activities are expected to boost the country’s GDP by a 4% on 2021.