Government releases conflicting counts of deaths and injuries during the strike

Oct 16, 2019 | 3 comments

The Ecuador Ombudsman’s Office reported Monday that eight people lost their lives during the 12-day national strike and 1,340 required medical assistance for injuries. It also reports that 1,192 were arrested during the protests.

Most of the injuries reported during the 12-day national strike were the result of rocks and bottles thrown by protesters, officials say.

On Tuesday, Interior Minister María Paula Romo released another set of figures showing that six had died and 1,507 had been injured. Romo said the discrepancy in the number of deaths was the result of double-counting by the ombudsman.

The ombudsman, charged with protecting human rights of Ecuadorian citizens, is demanding an investigation into two deaths that occurred below a pedestrian bridge in Quito on Monday, October 7. “These deaths have not been properly explained and there is evidence that police threw the victims from the bridge,” The ombudsman has also asked for explanations of the six other deaths it says occurred during the strike.

One death was reported in Cuenca when a protester was hit by a car at road block in the Cajas Mountains.

According to Romo, the vast majority of those injured were struck by projectiles thrown by protesters. “It was often a case of protesters hurting each other,” she said, adding that “there are 24 confirms cases of people being hit by tear gas cans fired by police.”

Among the injured, Romo says, were 435 police officers, most of them hit by rocks and bottles thrown by protesters. She says that 108 police vehicles were damaged or destroyed during the protests.

Fundamedios, an advocacy organization for Ecuadorian journalists, says that 131 print and television reporters were attacked during the strike, most of them in Quito. The group says most of the attacks came at the hands of protesters but about two dozen were from police. The most serious injury was to Freddy Paredes, a television journalist who is recovering from a blow to the head in a Quito hospital. In addition to attacks on reporters, Fundamedios says that 11 newspaper office and television stations were attacked.


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