The police force of Ecuador has on Tuesday detained the leader of the largest indigenous organization, Leonidas Iza. He was arrested after he directed the blocking of different highways and also promoted violent acts to revolt against the government’s policies on the economy.
The group had started their riot on Monday to request the Ecuador President, Guillermo Lasso, to freeze the rate of gasoline, announce abeyance on small farmers’ bank debts and limit oil and mining expansion in the region. The riot had however led to violence on Monday night as a patrol vehicle was burnt and police officers were attacked. The protesters also doused a pressure pump in an oil field and vandalized infrastructure in some flower farms.
The arrest of the Leader, Leonidas Iza, has further increased the protests in some parts of the country and more violence has been recorded.
Iza’s lawyer, Lenin Sarzosa, has come out to describe his arrest as illegal. He said the leader had been hijacked and arrested violently. He was also not able to communicate with him for over five hours and the crime he is accused of is still unclear.
Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo wrote on Twitter that although protest is a right, chaos and violence were not acceptable.
The president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso has also said he would not allow the riots to affect the country’s economic recovery and would therefore punish anyone that has decided to vandalize properties during protests.