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(en) Equador, ANTI-FTAA actions in Quito

From dyan jim beam <matheson_dunn@hotmail.com>
Date Sun, 3 Nov 2002 05:19:26 -0500 (EST)


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Wednesday: Anti-ALCA (FTAA) protests are just heating up
after months of preparation as the trade ministers meet here
in Quito, Ecuador to discuss the fate of the trade agreement
that will most likely squash the freedom of local industry and
organic producers, along with any hope of future
environmental regulation throughout Central and South
America, for the benefit of transnational corporations in the
United States and Canada. With similar actions in a dozen
cities on the continent this week, caravans of campesinos
and indigenous groups from various towns around Ecuador
arrived here this morning and continue to arrive tomorrow to
join the mobilization against ALCA. Great plays on words
too, "transNAZIonals," "No ALCApitalismo," and some
internationals were especially proud to be "Gringos contra
ALCA." The week was preceded by rallies and concerts in
the park, featuring energetic punk bands and speakers
against the notorious trade disaster. Hear audio from these
events, including the anarcho-folk stylings of Jaime
Guevara, the most down to earth "national sensation" Ive
ever met. The other night he came to our place and taught us
to play "Negra, Negra, Negra, Es Mi Bandera." (Black,
Black, Black is my Flag-- nice, eh?) -- Tuesday there was a
fun march highlighted by the folks from RADAC, who
spelled out an anti-ALCA message on their asses (though no
one seems to know exactly what it was.) This morning the
caravans came back from the north and coming from the
south tomorrow - there was a womens march and protest in
front of McDonalds where they burned Western style
clothing and were evetually confronted by police with fire
extinguishers--immediately following was a student march
in frotn of the Swiss hotel where an alleged paramilitary
opened fire from out of an unmarked vehicle with two shots.

No one was wounded. Later there was a huge street battle for
hours on end and actually just ended at about 7:30 pm in
front of the Universidad Central between the student,
and anarchist youths and the police. they threw rocks,
police threw loads of unending tear gas. it was pretty intense
and finally had to go out and buy goggles and vinegar,
couldnt breathe or see.  no property destruction and no real
message-- people were pretty psyched to fight with police for
hours on end, that being the ultimate goal, i think--
passersby didn`t even know what it was about. we witnessed
just a single arrest at the end of the night, young boy who
was pepper sprayed and beaten, bleeding out the mouth-- at
least i have video of it all, including the cop telling me to put
away my camera when they were beating him-- cant finish,
ive just gotten sick.

Thursday: Main day of action and the biggest march yet;
10-15,000 in the streets, although the marches were several
and all split up because of internal conflicts- disappointing,
but exciting because it was 90 percent indigenous groups,
alot of diversity and beautiful artwork, flags, lots of
creativity and positive energy. the groups were finally able to
deliver their message when 40 were allowed into the
conference with the giant handwritten latter that had been
transported overhead during the march. pretty good media
coverage, they recognized the protests as a legitimate action
worth covering for at least 6 or 7 minutes, with a whole
section about the indigenous groups who had spent months
mobilizing against ALCA, and trying to show the diversity of
people against the trade proposal, even filming inside the
conference and asking the US representative if ALCA was
really the best thing if so many were out protesting. it made
the front page of today`s paper, with our good friend tristan
proudly holding a burning flag, as he had not seen any
journalists around. unfortunately, the groups were eventually
met with alot of tear gas and a little baby was asphyxiated.
after many rumors, it turns out nobody was killed or arrested.

Friday: this morning there was an indigenous march with a
several thousand people, but most of it is all over-- there was
supposed to be a more direct-action oriented march with all
the anarchists, but only about 50 people showed up at the
park and are once again on their way to the Universidad
Central...





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