Chanting “our rainforest is not for sale,” indigenous communities from Ecuador's Amazon rainforest gathered outside the constitutional court on Monday, as they've filed against the government's plan to expand the country's oil industry.
"As Waorani de Pastaza, our territory is life. We live there, cultivate, fish, hunt, we grow yucca, plantains to feed our children. We rely on the rainforest, on the territory, on the river. If oil companies enter the Waorani of Pastaza communities, all 22 communities that live there will be affected."
President Guillermo Lasso issued two decrees earlier this year to expand oil blocks in jungles and attract more foreign investment for mining projects.
The conservative ex-banker seeks to bump up oil production to 1 million barrels per day by the end of his term in 2025.
Lasso also wants to turn mining into one of the country’s top income sources.
His plans have infuriated the Amazon's indigenous communities, who call them “policies of death" for the region's abundant biodiversity.
Ecuador's energy ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, various groups plan to file a separate lawsuit against the mining decree.