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Anti-brothel neighborhood movement takes its protest to Centro, meets with the vice mayor

Claiming that they have been ignored by city government, the residents of Cayambe marched on the mayor’s office Thursday, demanding an end to prostitution in their neighborhood. An hour into the protest, leaders of the group were invited inside to meet with Cuenca Vice Mayor Pablo Burbano.

Brothel protesters outside the alcaldia on Thursday. (El Tiempo)

“We are pleased that we were finally received by the government and we are hopeful that our talks with the vice mayor lead to some action,” said Abel Buestán, spokesman for the protesters. “We have made many attempts to consult with the government for the purpose of removing brothels from our streets but it required a protest to get their attention.”

Protesters carried signs complaining of drug and alcohol use and crime in their northwest Cuenca neighborhood. “This is where we live and where we raise our children and we are tired of seeing needles, used condoms and liquor bottles littering our streets,” Buestán said. “We want the brothels relocated and demand better law enforcement to stop illegal prostitution.”

In the meeting with Burbano, Buestán asked that the removal of the brothels be included in the 20-year city plan currently being developed and that Cayambe be rezoned for residential use. Following the meeting, he said his group would take its claim to the Ombudsman’s office if the city fails to act.