Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Ecuador: 250,000 march against corruption

On January 26, up to 250,000 Ecuadorians marched in Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador. Their demands included an end to rampant corruption and crime, improved health and sanitation services, and the reinstatement of the Supreme Court, which was unceremoniously sacked on December 8 by a narrow majority of the Ecuadorian Congress.

The dismissal of the Supreme Court, a majority of whose presiding judges were affiliated to the opposition Social-Christian Party (PSC), was precipitated by Ecuadorian President Lucio Gutierrez accusing it of favouring a PSC-led impeachment attempt against him last November.

Gutierrez has been under mounting pressure over the last year, as his ruling alliance has been unravelling and he has been under pressure from allegations of his involvement with drug-money and misuse of public funds resurfacing. The action against the Supreme Court is widely viewed as an unconstitutional power grab.