A leftist mob, some have identified as paid agitators, violently attacked Ecuador’s center-right presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso and his family Tuesday night as they attempted to leave a soccer match in the nation’s capital, Quito.
The mob – reportedly armed with bottles, sticks, stones, and knives – jeered the presidential candidate and his family and injured police detail assigned to escort the family out of Quito’s Atahualpa Olympic Stadium where Ecuador’s national soccer team was facing Colombia’s for a spot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The crowd shouted, “out, banker!” at Lasso – whose pre-politics career was in finance – while making noise with vuvuzelas and hurling projectiles at the family.
“When we left the stadium, Alianza Paz [leftist party] militants began throwing bottles, sticks, and threatened us with knives,” Lasso said in a statement to the press. “All I could do was protect my wife with my body and receive the blows from the objects on my head.”
— ANA MARÍA CAÑIZARES (@anniecanizares) March 29, 2017
Lasso also published a video of the incident on his Twitter account, narrated by his son who also attended the event. The video clearly shows violent crowds pelting police officers and the Lasso family while hurling epithets at them. The younger Lasso accuses the government of socialist president Rafael Correa of hiring paid agitators to attack the family.
Footage taken by the Lassos shows that the crowd in the stadium began to chant, “Lasso Presidente!” to drown out the jeering, and the stadium began to play music to drown out the vocal support for the center-right candidate.
“The government didn’t care that my father was with his wife, did not care about the police, who were also injured,” the younger Lasso says. “They are not afraid of hurling stones, sticks… these are cowards… this should be resolved at the ballot, rejecting all these people.”
Esto es lo que vivimos ayer narrado por mi hijo Santiago. Las imágenes hablan por sí solas. No queremos este Ecuador para nuestros hijos. pic.twitter.com/LTbHHbQ0SL
— Guillermo Lasso (@LassoGuillermo) March 29, 2017
Lenin Moreno, the socialist candidate backed by a term-limited Correa, lamented the incident on Twitter, writing, “no expression of intolerance is acceptable, coming from where it may. We reject the acts of violence at Atahualpa.”
Masso responded, tweeting to the candidate that the violence was “the result of your dirty campaign.”
“The best way to keep me far away is to behave well,” he warned in February. “If you behave badly, I will return and defeat you again.”
Correa was referring to an obscure Ecuadorian procedural action that allows the president to dissolve the entire executive and force a new vote at any time with the support of the socialist-run legislature.
Moreno, Correa’s candidate, appears to be in the lead in the latest national presidential polls taken last week. The CEDATOS polling firm found that Lenin Moreno had the support of 52.4 percent of respondents, as opposed to 47.6 percent for Lasso. 16 percent of their respondents said they were undecided, however, which would leave plenty of voters ready for the taking on April 2. The poll was conducted between March 18 and March 21, according to the Pan-American Post.