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On December 14, 2016, leftist President Rafael Correa declared a state of emergency in the province of Morona Santiago in the Amazonian region of Ecuador, deploying hundreds of troops and national police. This marked the culmination of years of clashes at the site of an open-pit copper mine in the area of San Carlos, which indigenous Shuar activists had occupied in protest against the expansion of mining and the threat posed to their territory and livelihoods. Between 2009 and 2015, three Shuar were violently killed by state forces while either protesting mining or defending their water rights. The months leading up to the 2016 state of emergency saw military raids and the violent dispossession of Shuar villages, leaving homes, tools, and agricultural plots destroyed. In mid-December, the conflict reached its peak in a clash that left a policeman dead, prompting Correa to call in the military.