Ecuador: Respect Citizens’ Right to Peaceful Protest

Martin Dewar

Target: Rafael Correa Delgado, President of Ecuador

Goal: Ensure that the rights of peaceful protesters are respected, and bring to justice authorities who use excessive force.

A recent string of protests in Ecuador has led to troubling reports of excessive force by authorities. Sign the petition and demand that protesters’ rights and safety be respected, and that those who infringe upon those rights are brought to justice.

In recent days, many Ecuadorians have taken to the streets in order to express dissatisfaction with a number of government politics, including a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the president to serve an unlimited number of terms. In the course of events, a number of protesters have been injured by violence and excessive force. In one town, homes were raided without search warrants or arrest warrants. Amnesty International reports that in the same town, tear gas was used “indiscriminately.” There were reports of protesters being “beaten and dragged through the streets.”

However, the violence has not only been on the side of the authorities. Several police officers in one city were injured when protesters surged through a protective barrier, and in another protesters “held a military convoy” for several hours before releasing everyone unharmed.

Peaceful protest must be respected at all costs, but even violent protesters have basic human rights that must be respected. It is possible to condemn violent people for their actions and punish them accordingly without resorting to further violence or excessive force. Sign the petition and urge Ecuador deal with protesters in a fair, humane, and respectful manner.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Correa,

I am writing to implore you to respect Ecuador’s citizens’ right to peaceful protest. While some citizens have become violent in their demonstrations, they are in no way representative of the whole and must not be used as an excuse for state forces to resort to violence as well. I urge you to work closely with security forces at protests and demonstrations to ensure that both protesters and police officers are safe.

While Ecuador’s recent widespread protests have been largely peaceful, there have been several instances of violence. However, authorities have more than once responded with excessive force and violence of their own. In one town, homes were raided without search warrants or arrest warrants. In the same town, protesters were reportedly beaten and dragged through the streets, and security forces reportedly used tear gas “indiscriminately.”

It’s true that police officers are often thrown into very tense, high-stress situations at a moment’s notice, and that violent protesters must be brought under control for the safety of others, but in doing so we must remember that they, too, are entitled to basic human rights. They should thus be protected from the use of excessive force. Recent reports have indicated that these rights have been severely violated, and I urge you to amend the situation as quickly, efficiently, and compassionately as possible, ensuring protection for protesters and bringing authorities who abuse their power to justice.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Martin Dewar

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