14 July 2006
The march in Quito was a huge success, and very moving. It much bigger than we anticipated. The Ap and MSN Money carried the news today, though their estimation of the total number of participants was much too low (250) We estimated that around 700 people participated, filling one of Quito-s main street with men women and children from Intag, carrying colorfl signs and shouting anti-mining slogans.
The crowd demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Energy and Mines until the Minister accepted to meet with a delegation composed of Cotacachi’s Mayor, presidents of the Local Parrish governments of Intag, and community activist Polibio Perez. The Minister pretty much accepted that Ascendant will have to go, in that he promised to strictly abide by the law, and that if he discovered any illegalities, the company’s concessions will be revoked. Since there’s no doubt at all there are illegalities, in one month we should see an Intag free of Ascendant.
After the Ministry, the crowd delivered a letter to the Ministry of the Environment to pressure them into taking action to protect the area’s forests and threatened wildlife imperiled by the project.
Later on, we continued to the offices of Ascendant Copper, where the crowd continued their protest, gluing large red “Shut Down for Violating Community Signs” across the main entrances to the building and some windows.
There were no arrests, and the crowd was at all times peaceful.
In one month the Parish governments of Intag have called for a Regional Assembly to take other measures in case the government refuses to shut down Ascendant’s operation in Intag. Everyone at the meeting withe the Ministry was confident that no further measures will be needed.
See below for the international press coverage so far. In addition to this most of Ecuador’s main newspapers covered the story.
A very sincere THANK YOU for all those that helped make the march such a huge success. I’ll post some photos on our web site of the march as soon as I’m back home
In the news:
MSN Money July 13, 2006 06:37 PM ET: Ecuadoreans Want Mine Concession Pulled
el Nuevo Herald Posted on Thu, Jul. 13, 2006: Protestas contra minera canadiense en Ecuador