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Indigenous people and peasants of Ecuador resist mining

Quito, Mar 20 (Prensa Latina) Indigenous people and peasants of the Ecuadorian province of Cotopaxi remain in resistance in rejection of mining exploitation and the presence of soldiers and the police, issues that generate conflicts.

Leaders of the Indigenous and Peasant Movement of Cotopaxi (MICC) denounced the presence of armed groups and clashes in Palo Quemado and Las Pampas, two parishes of Cotopaxi, in the Andean region, where they reject the execution of a mining project by the Canadian company Atico Mining Corp.

The National Anti-Mining Front reported that 15 people have been injured so far as a result of the attacks, including older adults, women, young people, who were attacked with rubber bullets, pellets, and tear gas bombs. Of them, seven are in serious condition with burns on their faces, arms, and legs, said the Front, which held the Government of Daniel Noboa responsible for the integrity and lives of those affected by its aggressive mining policy.

This Wednesday, mobilizations called by the Indigenous and Peasant Movement of Cotopaxi (MICC) are expected.

Rosa Masapanta, a resident of Palo Quemado, told the press that her relatives were beaten and her friends had gunshot wounds. “In our land, they displace us as if we were thieves,” said the woman, who warned that mining will forever change the community where she lives.

MICC president Alex Toapanta criticized the initiation of legal actions against 70 members of the Palo Quemado community, who are accused of terrorism. “In Las Pampas and Palo Quemado there is no crime, send the police and soldiers to towns where there is insecurity such as Esmeraldas, Guayaquil,” argued the indigenous leader.

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), in turn, filed a lawsuit of unconstitutionality against the ministerial agreement issued by the Government to deepen mining activity.

President of CONAIE Leónidas Iza denounced that the Nobis Group, belonging to the family of President Daniel Noboa, participates in mining in the country and seeks to guarantee profits for its consortium. Iza affirmed that Noboa and the Ministry of Energy and Mines do not comply with legal and constitutional obligations, regarding the right to consultation and prior, free, and informed consent of indigenous communities, peoples and nationalities.

jrr/llp/oda/avr

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