Guayaquil prison riot put down after inmates demand the ‘end of military occupation’

Mar 28, 2024 | 0 comments

Prisoners at the Guayas Regional Prison burned mattresses and trash Wednesday night protesting the policies of President Daniel Noboa and the use of the armed forces inside the prison.

Prisoners at the Guayas Regional Prison burned mattresses and trash Wednesday night to protest government policies to control the prison.

With chants of “Out Noboa” and “Out soldiers,” and “We want our prison back,” inmates took control of two prison courtyards early Wednesday evening, broadcasting photos and videos on TikTok.

In one video, a prisoner reads a document claiming that his human rights have been violated by the presence of soldiers in the prison. “They use excessive force against us and deprive us of our rights as prisoners and human beings. We demand that military occupation of this prison end immediately. We demand that the repressive actions of Daniel Noboa end.”

The riot was short lived, according to the National Police command that assisted the armed forces in restoring order. “The disruptions have been put down and the situation is under control,” the command said in a statement released at 11 p.m.

Just before midnight, Noboa also claimed the riot had ended. “We moved quickly to neutralize the uprising before it could escalate,” he said. “We will not tolerate the prison violence of the past. We will not return to the old days. My commitment is to deliver the mechanisms necessary to restore peace to our prisons and our country in our struggle against the criminals.”

In a brief press conference, Guayaquil prison official said that Wednesday’s riot was not fight between rival gangs, as has been the case the past. “This was a protest against the government’s successful policies to restore order in the prisons,” he said. He added that, as of midnight, no deaths or serious injuries had been reported.

The official said new searches will be conducted to find the cell phones used in TikTok broadcasts of the riot. “We have removed most of the cell phones from the possession of inmates and will conduct sweeps to find those used tonight,” he said.

The Guayaquil disturbance comes less than two weeks before the national state of emergency ends on April 8. In February, Noboa said that the armed forces will remain in prisons, if necessary, when the emergency ends.

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