Ecuador: vigil for imprisoned protesters

A court in Ecuador's city of Loja on May 30 sentenced two indigenous activists to four years in prison for their role in protests last year. Supporters gathered outside the courthouse, calling the convictions a transgression of justice and asserting that the violence at the protests last August was sparked by police. The defendants, Luisa Lozano and Amable Angamarca, are among 29 comuneros from Saraguro village arrested during the protests and facing charges including "sabotage," "terrorism," and "paralyzing public services."  On June 6, a rally in support of the "Saraguro 29" was also held outside the Consejo de la Judicatura, Ecuador's justice department, in Quito. Supporters from the indigenous alliance CONAIE chanted "Liberty, liberty!" Lozano and Angamarca issued their own private statement to Diego Zorrilla, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Ecuador, condemning the sentence as a criminalization of protest movements. (CONAIE statement via INREDH, June 8; El Comercio, Quito, El Universo, Guayaquil, June 7; El Universo, EFE, June 6)