One dead and dozens injured in water protests

One protester has been killed and many more are injured following clashes between indigenous tribal people and Ecuadorian police over proposed water and land rights laws.

The demonstrations near to Macas in Ecuador saw the indigenous protesters blockade a bridge linking two key provinces.

Actions around the country began last Sunday over indigenous fears the government’s new water laws would privatise water sources, give priority access to water to industry and slash regulations for water contamination.

According to the protesters local police, backed by a helicopter, opened fire on demonstrators armed only with ‘ceremonial’ spears.

The attack has left at least one confirmed dead, a teacher and member of the Shuar nation, and some 49 civilians and police injured.

President of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon, Tito Puenchir, last night called the attack the start of a ‘civil war’ and called on the United Nations to intervene.

President Rafael Correa has appealed for calm on national radio calling for ‘dialogue’ witht protesters.

Luke Walsh

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