Amid the national strike taking place in Ecuador on Tuesday, the Indigenous and Farmer Movement of Cotopaxi (MICC) called on all communities and grassroots organizations to join a "great popular uprising" and demand the release of Leonidas Iza, the president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE).
"President Guillermo Lasso's administration criminalizes and politically persecutes Leonidas Iza," the MICC stressed and denounced that his arrest proceeded arbitrarily, illegally, and violently early Tuesday morning.
Regarding this fact, the Attorney General's Office acknowledged that it initially found out about the CONAIE leader's arrest through social networks. It also admitted that Iza had not yet been formally placed under the orders of the institution. While these unusual confessions were made, Quito City's Frangrancy Unit remained heavily guarded with a police and military siege.
In response to these, the MICC, which has been "the heart of the historic struggle of highlands peoples," reaffirmed its intention to march together with all social sectors in an indefinite mobilization to guarantee the rights of citizens.
The tweet reads, "This is happening now at Latacunga City's judicial complex where the judicial hearing to formulate charges against CONAIE President Leonidas Iza will be held."
The violent arrest of Leonidas Iza and the Lasso regime's policies are leading to an intensification of social protests, which are trying to be placated with police repression. This has raised alarm among human rights defenders and progressive politicians.
"We express our resounding rejection of the illegal detention of Leonidas Iza. We remind the government that protest is a right of the people," the Citizen Revolution Movement said and asked President Lasso to "work instead of repress and persecute Indigenous leaders."
"The people are tired of so many injustices... Lasso ordered the arrest of the leaders with incredible speed," former Pachakutik presidential candidate Yaku Perez said, stressing that the State does not display the same speed to imprison upper-class criminals and drug traffickers.
#Ecuador | In the early hours of Tuesday, police and army agents arrested the President of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (CONAIE), Leonidas Iza, in Pastocalle, Cotopaxi province, for the presumption of committing crimes. pic.twitter.com/CW9VpaM92g— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) June 14, 2022