Ecuadorian Military Attacks OCP Pipeline Demonstrators At Least Two Reported Dead, Dozens Wounded

Amazon Watch - Frente de Defensa de la Amazonia - CONAIE

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This release contains statements from Ecuadorian organizations involved in the general strike against the OCP pipeline and pumping station.

Protests in Ecuador turned fatal this week as thousands of striking OCP construction workers and local residents in the northern Amazon were attacked by the country\'s armed forces. Local newspapers report that at least one child may have died of asphyxiation from tear gas. Another man was reportedly killed in confrontations with the military and dozens are wounded. The two Amazonian provinces, Sucumbios and Orellana, have been paralyzed since February 18 when a general strike was called by workers, residents, and local government leaders demanding fair and just compensation for the serious impacts of the pipeline and pumping station and much needed funds for roads, hospitals, reliable electricity service and clean running water. Organizers say that 90 percent of the population is behind the strike. Demonstrators erected roadblocks and have been occupying over 60 oil wells and 5 refineries-halting all construction on the pipeline and bringing oil production in the region to a near standstill.

Amazon Watch is urging President Noboa to stop the military’s attack on local populations in the Orellano and Succumbios region. We call on the Ecuadorian Government to urgently meet with local leaders in order to address their communities’ legitimate concerns on the adverse impacts of the OCP pipeline and the impoverished and devastated state these provinces are in after 30 years of oil production.

Here is what some of the leading Ecuadorian organizations are saying:

“Our communities have been militarized and at each moment there are confrontations and the military is found shooting at the crowds with rifles and 16 caliber bullets. Military helicopters are spraying tear gas bombs from the air. The rights of free expression has been suspended and even radio stations are intimated with threat of closure in order to not deliver the story of what is happening to the people.”
– – - Committee for Bi-provincial General Strike of Orellana and Sucumbios

“... On February 20, the government declared the state of emergency citing reasons of political interests and that the protests are damaging the construction of the OCP pipeline. Protecting the project, the military is brutally suppressing the demonstrations, and feeding a climate of violence and insecurity which already exists due to the effects of Plan Colombia.”
– - CONAIE (National Indigenous Organization of Ecuador)

“...I write to all of you to ask for your urgent help, in the form of sending letters to the national government and urging them with al your influence to sit at the table and dialogue with the local authorities and representatives of civil society of both provinces, with the goal of solving this conflict.”
– – Luis Yanza, Frente de Defensa de la Amazonia

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