Defense Minister warns: “Ecuador’s democracy is at serious risk”

He warned that the Armed Forces "will not allow any attempt to break the constitutional order or any action against democracy and the laws of the republic".

Ecuador's democracy, Defense Minister warns: “Ecuador’s democracy is at serious risk”

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – “Ecuador’s democracy is at serious risk,” warned Tuesday the Minister of Defense of Ecuador, Luis Lara, at a time when social protests over the cost of living are intensifying in the country, with the blockade of roads and highways, and the arrival of thousands of demonstrators in the capital, Quito.

He added that the “only objective” of the actions of violent groups “is to create panic, attacking and extorting companies, institutions and authorities”.

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The Armed Forces “contemplate with great concern the manipulation of social protest, the growth of violence by those who have rejected dialogue, a fundamental principle of coexistence in freedom and democracy, to try to impose their demands on the State”.

Lara added an even more severe fact: “These actions coincide with the brutal criminal attack that the country has been suffering from drug traffickers and organized crime”.

“These actions go beyond citizen protest; it is a deliberate attempt to use armed violence to attack democracy, to threaten institutions,” he said.

And he warned that the Armed Forces “will not allow any attempt to break the constitutional order or any action against democracy and the laws of the republic”.

“Social protest actions are legitimate, as long as they do not attempt against the guarantees and rights of the majority of citizens to live in peace, work, move around the territory, produce and educate their children in a free country without violence,” the minister indicated.

Lara pointed out that when these rights are violated, the groups that impede free circulation “create anxiety, attack other defenseless citizens, is when the State, on behalf of all Ecuadorians, must take action to recover normality and restore peace”.

“This violent and criminal activity does not help social demands; on the contrary, they harm them because behind this is the hand of drug trafficking and organized crime,” he said.

And for this reason, he called Ecuadorians “to national unity, to an active defense for peace and the defense of democracy”.

“THEY SEEK TO THROW OUT (REMOVE) THE PRESIDENT”.

This statement by Lara came a day after the head of state, Guillermo Lasso, assured that he would not allow chaos to reign in the country during the anti-government demonstrations, which he said were “aimed at overthrowing the president.”

“I am here to protect the citizens. I will always fight to defend democracy and the will of the Ecuadorian people. I will not allow chaos to be imposed,” Lasso wrote on Twitter.

“They seek chaos; they want to throw out the president. I am here, I am not going to escape, but I am here to protect each of your families, especially the poorest,” Lasso said in a video with his voice that accompanied the message on Twitter.

This Tuesday, protests have increased with the blocking of several highways in the country, while road blockades are on the rise in the Ecuadorian capital.

The Carondelet Palace, the seat of the Executive, continues to be guarded and this Tuesday dawned with barbed wire placed on the balconies of its main entrance.

On the other hand, thousands of indigenous people are concentrated in different city sectors to continue with their protest in demand for lowering fuel prices, price control, prevention of privatizations, and avoiding labor flexibilization, among others.