Ecuador authorities vow to regain control of prisons amid wave of violence against inmates
Police in Quito have taken control of several prisons on the morning of Tuesday, after prisoners went on a rampage of violence against corrections officers, including slashing their faces.
The Ministry said that at least 20 inmates had been killed since Monday by the brutality of the prison guards, while others had been stabbed to death and many had been injured including several who were shot.
It is unclear how the prisoners, including four who were shot, came to be in prison and the exact number of deaths. The authorities said at least 20 guards had been injured.
Quito’s municipal police force also took control of the prison of San Andres on Tuesday morning.
The authorities, in a statement issued late Tuesday, said they planned to restore order to the prisons and were carrying out investigations into the circumstances of the violence.
In the town of Benalcazar, where most of the inmates were transferred to in the first place, a crowd gathered outside the prison at dawn, shouting anti-government slogans, and shouting “the people and government want peace” and “the government has failed to protect the population.”
It was not immediately clear why the prisoners were arrested in the first place, or how long they had been in detention.
Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Dominican Republic have also come under a wave of violent protests, with many saying the inmates were unfairly being used as human shields.
The country has been rocked by violent protests since December of 2018 when mass protests erupted against a lack of food and basic necessities. Many people say they are tired of the misery, while others blame the opposition for worsening the situation.
On Monday, there was a wave of protests in the capital, Caracas. In what is believed to be the fifth-largest protests in Venezuelan history, the violent protests spread to the southern state of Lara where protesters torched a large police station along with a nearby bakery on Monday evening.
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