Dozens of human rights activists and gender violence activists demonstrated in several Ecuadorian cities to call on the government to take action against the increase in femicides, which already exceeded 206 this year.
The nationwide mobilization was also planned in Guayaquil, the capital of the coastal province of Guayas, and other cities called after the femicide of lawyer María Belén Bernal following a visit to her husband Germán Cáceres, a police lieutenant and fugitive.
“I’m fighting for my rights and because we don’t want even one less woman to not be able to go home; because I want to be calm and come home safely,” a young woman claiming to be María José told Sputnik in Quito.
The call comes amid sharp criticism of the security forces after Bernal was murdered at the police academy without a cadet or supervisor filing a report on the incident.
In the Ecuadorian capital, activists, students, and members of the LGBTI community gathered in El Arbolito, near the central Avenida 6 de Diciembre.
The peaceful march went from El Arbolito to Avenida Patria and then to Avenida Amazonas.
Participants carried signs with demands to the government and criticism of the police.
Placards read, among other things, “Destroy the misogynist state,” “Stop transphobic violence” and “Your report makes you superior to no one, you miserable pig.”
“I knew, I knew that the murderous ‘chapas’ would be taken care of by the police,” chanted the protesters wearing scarves and purple T-shirts that mark the international movement against gender violence.
The November 2019 National Survey on Family Relationships and Gender Violence Against Women (ENVIGMU) shows that 65 out of 100 women in Ecuador have experienced at least one violence incident in one of the different areas of their lives.
Feminist groups agree that Ecuador has the legal tools to reduce the number of murders of women related to gender violence, but the state is not releasing the resources to implement them.
They also criticize Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso’s “symbolic” actions following the murder of lawyer Bernal, such as announcing the demolition of the police building where the crime allegedly occurred and lighting the Carondelet Palace, the seat of the executive branch, with purple lights.
Lasso announced last week that he would launch a dialogue for a major national agreement against gender violence and analyze the amount allocated for applying laws to eradicate this scourge.