Riot police armed with water cannons, dogs and tear gas beat back 150 protesters who tried to storm a key government office building and demanded the nullification of government contracts with petroleum giant Occidental. The movement to expel Oxy is years old and has roots in Oxy’s disregard for indigenous communities in Ecuador’s poor and environmentally sensitive interior.
Major actions against Oxy and ending free trade negotiations with the US became front burner issues for the Ecuadoran pro-indigenous/anti-neo-liberal movement back in March of this year. A new round of barricades is set for May 15.
In addition to Oxy’s other crimes, it has also been revealed that Oxy illegally sold off 40% of its Ecuadoran operations back in 2000. The company arrogantly did so without alerting government regulators.
While riot police battled the protesters, 7000 others gathered in the Plaza San Francisco with similar demands: Oxy out, nationalization of petroleum, and no FTA with the US.