QUITO – Several thousand people marched through heavy rain in the Ecuadorian capital Quito on Thursday to protest a large slate of grievances against the government of President Rafael Correa. On that list is a proposed constitutional amendment that would eliminate term limits, the president’s included. Above, a protester standing in front of the 16th century Church of San Francisco holds a sign that reads, Indefinite re-election is indefinite corruption.
The demonstration in Quito was one of a dozen protests that took place across the country yesterday, an attempt to unify the disparate pockets of opposition to Correa, who has led Ecuador since January 2007.
Organized by a very loosely-knit coalition of indigenous, labor, student and environmental groups, the two-kilometer march, from the Parque el Ejido to Plaza San Francisco, was largely peaceful, although there were a few clashes reported between protesters and police after the demonstration. I didn’t witness any. The march began at about 4 pm and was scheduled to last until 8; I followed along and shot it from just after the start until about 7 pm.
Correa remains very popular among Ecuadorians, largely for the social programs his government has introduced and implemented through it’s so-called “citizen’s revolution”. One recent poll by the Madrid-based International Political Communications Association found that 79 percent of Ecuadorians view him favorably.
But he’s also widely criticized, both at home and abroad, for an increasing intolerance in recent years of criticism and dissent.