On February 16, up to 200,000 people took to the streets of Ecuador's capital Quito, in the country's second major demonstration in three weeks. The march, organised by the Social Christian Party and Quito Mayor Paco Moncayo, who is the leader of the opposition party Democratic Left, demanded an end to the corruption and nepotism that marks the current administration of President Lucio Gutierrez, and a national consultation on the re-election of the Supreme Court. A 10,000-strong counter-rally marched nearby in support of Gutierrez. The indigenous federation CONAIE, while supporting the main march, distanced itself from the demands of its organisers, making instead a call for nation-wide mobilisations against a proposed free trade agreement with the US, an end to neoliberal policies and US military ties, and the overthrow of Gutierrez. The protests coincided with the visit of International Monetary Fund managing director Rodrigo de Rato, who concluded his stay with calls for greater privatisation and deregulation.
From Green Left Weekly, February 23, 2005.
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