A global campaign to stop oil exploration in a pristine corner of the Ecuadorean Amazon has collected more than a million online signatures in little more than a week.
The show of support is a major boost to the small indigenous community of Sani Isla that has been resisting intrusions by Ecuador's state-run oil company Petroamazonas.
It is also a rebuke to Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, as he campaigns for re-election.
The petition, which was organised by the campaign group Avaaz, calls on Correa to stop oil exploration in the Amazon and uphold the Ecuadorean constitution, which is the only one in the world to recognize the rights of nature.
It follows an appeal for help by the 400-strong community of Sani – first reported in October in the Guardian – amid fears that the state oil company would use the army to secure land for a seismic study.
The members of the Kichwa indigenous group said this would ruin their efforts to run an eco-lodge that has a lower impact on the environment in an area of exceptional biodiversity.
Patricio Jipa, a spokesman for the community, told a press conference in Quito:
Sani Isla has said no to oil. That's not easy because oil dominates. We are a tiny speck against a huge corporation. But we are doing this not just for us, but for the world
Avaaz has organized several previous campaigns to protect the Amazon, but Pedro Abramovay, the group's campaign director, said none had received such a strong response.
Read the full article: The Guardian