The Ecuadorian government mobilized some 1,500 policemen Wednesday, September 15, 2010 to dislodge a mining camp in the south.
It was on a bridge that hundreds of illegal miners and native people tried to block police. Burning tires, tree trunks, stone throwing, fighting lasted several hours and at least five wounded. Throwing tear gas grenades, some 500 police finally pass and enter the village of Paquisha, gateway to several encampments of illegal miners. With them, 17 semi-trailers supposed to ship away the retro-excavator machines which according to the government, cause serious damage to the banks of rivers.
The clashes have been particularly severe in this region, 20,000 families survive economically through the exploitation of gold deposits, with a lot of mercury. Officially, the government wants to professionalize the minors and legalize their concessions. The indigenous prefect of the region Salvador Quispe suspects, however, the authorities of wanting to leave the field open to large transnational mining companies, which the government denies.
The Indian movement, which traditionally opposes the mining industry, have decided to support the illegal miners. They were joined by leftist movements and environmentalists who are trying to mount a united front against the government.