May 18, 2024
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By Andrés Salazar

Two women received notification of the beginning of administrative proceedings for damages to cultural heritage sites during a walk.

It is expensive for real estate owners to fix a wall that has scratches or graffiti. But, it’s also an offense when graffiti or posters are placed on one of the walls in the historical center of Quito that harm its appearance. Municipal Ordinance No. 052-2023 defines this as a very grave offense.

A feminist march was organized on September 28. A group of women painted walls and doors as they walked from El Arbolito Park to Plaza de Santo Domingo. The mobilization was part of the Day of Global Action for Legal, Safe and Accessible Abortion.

The National Police shared videos and photos of people who came with aerosols, paint buckets and posters.

They were able, using video surveillance cameras to identify those who had committed the infractions. After the officers finished their march with members of AMC, they notified the two women.

AMC, the administrative initiating act is issued by the Municipality of Quito. They are sent when a violation of municipal regulation is committed. The citizen can claim the infraction or it will result in a penalty.

Two women were identified and filled in a form where the official administrative initiating act was given. Before a fine can be issued, they may visit the AMC office to determine what resources are available to them.

In its article 3952, the said Ordinance prohibits the use of certain materials on facades, enclosures and other surfaces. It states: “In areas of heritage or tourism: Do not alter the facade paint surface with paints, scratches or any other material; do not place posters, election advertising, or similar elements in any form of written or symbol expression.”

According to regulations, committing these acts outside of special zones is a grave infraction that will result in two SBUs.

Virginia Gomez de La Torre is the representative of Feminist Desafio Foundation. She believes that protesting in Ecuador has a legal right and does not mean vandalism.

The protest is meant to create discomfort, to bring attention to women’s problems and spread a positive message. In reality these issues are not visible. (…) In the city center of Quito and other areas, graffiti is everywhere. No one speaks out, and nobody protests. I dislike that. But if someone puts up an advertisement, everyone will protest.

Virginia said that if abortions are illegal, they can cause the deaths of children and teenagers. This is far more grave than removing graffiti from a wall or a poster.

Patricio Vagas, the commander of the Manuela Saenz Police District, stated that it was not the first time that such a thing had happened.

The National Police will always ensure that such mobilizations are peaceful, and that public order is maintained. But what happens most often is that the damage and destruction of a cultural asset like the historical center of Quito is done, as it is not just a treasure for Quito’s people but also for Ecuadorians in general, attracting the attention not just of national tourists. But foreigners. It is an image of the nation,” he stressed.

Police rely heavily on surveillance video cameras for identifying possible criminals, including personnel within the area. The intelligence axis is also constantly gathering information about possible risks to the environment and citizens.

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