QUITO, ECUADOR – More than 1,500 indigenous protesters had a clear message as they march through Ecuador’s capital Quito on Wednesday: Stop mining on, or near, indigenous territory.
“We need to fight together,” said Alexandra, a Kichwa indigenous woman who walked more than 600km in traditional sandals from the southern Amazonian province of Zamora Chinchipe to Quito. She was one of about 80 indigenous protesters who set out from their native lands on November 3 with the goal of ensuring the protection of their water and territory. Hundreds more from other indigenous groups joined them along the way.
“It’s just not possible that the government and transnational companies want to keep destroying our forest, our lakes, our paramos,” Alexandra told Al Jazeera.
The protesters demanded a meeting with President Lenin Moreno, which he agreed to hold on Thursday, without setting a time.
Yaku Sacha Perez Guartambel, president of the Confederation of Peoples of the Kichwa Nationality and one of the leaders of the march, was pleased but remained sceptical, saying previous talks with the government “have not advanced anything”.