Ecuador – series of protests against large-scale mining


During January (2009), Ecuador was the scene of protests against a new mining law that allows and promotes large-scale mining and open pit mining - carried out by big multinationals. This mining will cause great damage to the life of the indigenous Amazonians, affecting access to water and generally degrading the environment.

Rejection of the law took various forms, both in the local communities and at the national level. There were marches, vigils, hunger strikes, reviving the radicalism that characterised the social movements in Ecuador. On 2 January thousands of people protested in different ways against the mining law. Actions included blockades of motorways in the Sierra and in the south of the Amazons. Urban mobilisations also took place, with unions and ecological groups joining together for a vigil in front of the Congress, and also a 'seed market' to illustrate the diversity of products and ecology that the large-scale mining puts in danger.

The mining law is typical of a model of development, including large scale extractive industries, that has plunged the country into dependence, indebtedness and the destruction of ecosystems. The mining law should lay down conditions for small-scale traditional mining and definitely ban large-scale mining.

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