Protesters opposed to proposed constitutional amendments, including one that would allow President Rafael Correa to seek another term, clashed with police Wednesday night at the Parque Calderon glorieta.
The government opponents claimed that police tried to eject them from the glorieta, where their leaders wanted to speak to a small crowd. Police claim that members of the group were attempting to set fires and were throwing rocks and sticks at police. They also said that the protest endangered the public and infringed on the rights of other citizens.
During the confrontation, a protester threw a tear gas canister at the police. Police commander Marcelo Jijón said his office is looking at photographs and hopes to arrest the man he says threw the canister. “It turned out to be tear gas, which is bad enough, but we had no idea what was in the canister when it was thrown. It was a dangerous situation,” he said.
After the confrontation, the police retreated and protesters were allowed to use the glorieta.
In addition to opposing the constitutional amendments currently being debated in the National Assembly, some protesters carried signs opposing two proposed gold mines in Azuay Province. They claim that the mines, to be operated by Chinese companies, are being “fast-tracked” by the Correa administration and that they will pollute nearby water sources.
In addition to Cuenca, protesters marched in Guayaquil and Quito, where there were confrontations with government supporters.