‘Cuenca fascists’ desecrate bridge dedicated to femicide victims; Sangay ashfall closes Guayaquil airport; Indigenous group demands Russian vaccines
Women’s rights supporters gathered Sunday afternoon at the Broken Bridge to decry Friday’s vandalism of a Rio Tomebamba bridge dedicated to the victims of femicide. The vandals removed a plaque honoring the victims and painted graffiti identifying themselves as the “Cuenca Fascists.”
The graffiti announced a bounty for the killing of an indigenous woman who is a leader of the Cuenca feminist movement and labeled feminists as “whores.”
The bridge, at the base of the Padre Aguirre escalinata that connects the historic district to Av. 12 de Abril, was dedicated in November as a “symbol of love and remembrance” for women who had lost their lives in acts of violence, their names painted on the side of the bridge. Mayor Pedro Palacios placed a plaque on the bridge during the ceremony.
The graffiti was removed Saturday morning, just hours after it was applied by a city crew and the names of victims that had been painted over were restored. Palacios and the municipal council issued separate statements denouncing the vandalism and supporting the rights of women and the fight against gender violence. The city public works office said it will install surveillance cameras at the bridge.
“This is a terrible reminder that we have a long road ahead of us in our fight to bring dignity and safety to the women of Ecuador,” said one the speakers at the Broken Bridge ceremony. “Many people prefer to ignore and excuse the problem but we will not let them. We will continue the fight for justice and be the voices for those who have died.”
In a Tweet, the regional police command said it will “pursue and prosecute” the vandals, calling them “animals.”
Indigenous ask government to purchase Russian Sputnik V vaccines
The Indigenous and Peasant Movement is demanding that the government negotiate the purchase of the Russian Covid vaccine, Sputnik V, for use among the indigenous population of Ecuador. “While the coronavirus plague has killed hundreds of our people the government has vaccinated less than a quarter of one percent of the population,” said Leonidas Iza, leader of the movement, calling the “negligence” an act of genocide.
“I have held meetings with Russian diplomats and they have told me they are ready to ship the vaccine to Ecuador for the protection of the indigenous people,” Iza said. He claimed the government of Lenin Moreno has not purchased the Sputnik vaccine for political reasons, preferring to negotiate with U.S. and European countries that will delay shipments for months. “Now, they are talking to Chinese companies for a vaccine that is inferior to Sputnik.”
Sangay volcano ash falls on five provinces
Heavy ashfall from the Sangay volcano covered parts of five provinces on Saturday, temporarily forcing the closure of the Guayaquil airport. The ashfall was the result of a Friday eruption of the Morona Santiago Province volcano that has been in an active state since 2015.
According to Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute an ash and gas cloud rose two kilometers above Sangay and began to drift west Friday night. “Prevailing winds usually carry the cloud to the east but atmospheric conditions have assumed a different pattern in days,” the institute said.
According the Chimborazo Emergency Operations Committee, the hardest-hit communities were Guamote, Alausí, Chunchi, Pallatanga and Cumandá in Chimborazo Province. The COE advised that residents of the area wear goggles as well as masks if they are forced to go outdoors. “Otherwise, everyone should remain indoors until the threat passes,” the COE said. It also advised farmers to protect livestock. It said it expected crop losses due to the ash.
On Sunday night, the institute reported that the ashfall had diminished and was only affecting areas within 30 miles of Sangay.