Rocks and tear gas flew in Cuenca’s historic district Thursday afternoon as about 100 marchers protested the passage of 15 constitutional amendments by the National Assembly in Quito. Larger protests were mounted in Guayaquil and Quito, where several serious injuries were reported.
In Cuenca, 400 police blocked access to Parque Calderon, sparking scuffles and rock-throwing on Simon Bolivar and Mariscal Sucre near the intersections with Presidente Borrero. Several police received minor injuries from rocks while a number of protesters were temporarily overcome by tear gas.
Small fires were set in Bolivar and Sucre but were quickly extinguished by police.
Earlier in the day, before the police cordons were established, about two dozen protesters entered the cathedral, chanting and waving banners. Worshipers shouted, “get out” as the protesters occupied pews for more than an hour before leaving.
The protests focused on four of the amendments covering the elimination of term limits for some elected offices, the rights of government workers to organize and strike, the use of military personnel for police work, and freedom of speech and of the press.
The protest over the elimination of term limits amendment was greatly defused last month when President Rafael Correa announced he would not seek another term.
Protest leaders said that demonstrations would continue.