Dozens of citizens’ organizations, with interests ranging from indigenous rights to medical malpractice, plan nationwide protests Thursday. The largest event is planned for Quito, but protesters will also rally in Cuenca, Guayaquil, Loja, Machala, Ambato, and other major cities.
The focus of the protest will be on government efforts to amend national labor laws. The proposed changes, currently being debated in the National Assembly and intended to deal with the economic recession, would give businesses flexibility in setting working hours and in hiring. Labor groups say the measures reduce the rights of workers while businesses say they don’t go far enough.
Although most protesters are expected to represent indigenous and labor interests, they will also include groups of retirees, women, university students, doctors, artists, lawyers and nurses.
Many of the groups protesting Thursday were involved in protests held last year, in July and August.
In addition to labor law, protesters object to changes in the Social Security system, a water management law enacted last year, mining projects, lack of reforms to protect women’s rights, university administration, and a new medical malpractice law that gives patients more rights to sue doctors.
In Quito, protesters will gather in the Santo Domingo Plaza in the colonial district. In Cuenca, an afternoon rally has been called in Parque Calderon.