Guayaquil prison inmates riot and broadcast live on TikTok: “This is what war with the army looks like”

The prisoners set mattresses on fire and demanded the government to remove the army from the prisons.

The militarization of prisons and the imposition of a state of emergency failed to stop prisoners from being released due to internal armed conflict. Guayaquil Regional Jail They would begin a rebellion demanding the government remove members of the armed forces from prisons. As has happened on previous occasions, prisoners used their mobile phones to document the violent takeover of the prison. This time, a broadcast on TikTok gave an alert about the incident.

Video showed prisoners standing amidst the flames with their faces covered, as prison mattresses were burned: “we are tired of being abused“, they shouted. “This is what war looks like with an armyA prisoner can be heard saying in a video spread on social networks. Unlike other incidents of prison violence, this time the riot did not arise from clashes between criminal gangs, but rather prisoners expressed their dissatisfaction with state interference.

Explosions were also heard in the recording. The rebellion took place in the same prison where Aka Fito was imprisoned and whose escape triggered it. People living around the jail also used digital platforms to show the fire that broke out in the rehabilitation centre.

At approximately 1 am on March 28, law enforcement announced that they had gained control of the prison.

The first official information was released at 10 pm, despite the fact that since 8 pm journalists had been continuously asking officials to give statements. Then, the armed forces assured that: ““All security protocols have been activated and control has been regained with 80% success”, The last communication from the military forces was issued around 1 am: “The security block reports that the situation in the maximum and minimum wards of the 4th Regional Social Rehabilitation Center is under control.”

For his part, President Daniel Noboa highlighted the work of law enforcement in his X account: ““I commend the bravery of the security group, which in a professional, immediate and large-scale operation deployed by law enforcement, neutralized the insurgency before possible escalation.”, Although part of Noboa’s message indicated that one could not “go back to the old Ecuador”, the riot, lack of immediate communication and the government’s reactive response were reminiscent of the violent uprisings that have occurred in prisons since 2021.

On social networks, questions about Noboa and his administration focused on how it was possible for prisoners to riot in a militarized prison, why no one expected it, and what they used to set prison mattresses on fire. How did you manage to bring back the lost items? Criticism intensified mainly because riots broke out just a day after mega operative A presidential vigil in a struggling neighborhood of Guayaquil, just hours before Mayra Salazar, who prosecuted the Metastasis case, is to give anticipated testimony and days before April 8, when the state of emergency is set to end.

The day before the rebellion, approximately 1,600 police and military officers intervened in Guayaquil’s red zone. (Reuters/Santiago Arcos)

The government of Daniel Noboa is implementing Plan Fenix, a security strategy as he calls it, which seeks to, among other things, equip law enforcement and generate an integrated intelligence center. However, opponents of NOBOA have pointed out that militarization is a strategy with more psychological effects than actual results. According to the latest official figures, violent deaths in the country have declined by 18% since the internal armed conflict was declared.

On the other hand, government supporters have said that the rebellion is politically motivated as it would seek to lower the president’s high level of approval in order to influence voters and persuade them to oppose the popular consultation promoted by the executive. The consultation raises questions about extradition and the involvement of the armed forces in the fight against organized crime.

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