Swastika Ecuador

Indians, wearing cardboard hats with swastika symbol, dance during the Inti Raymi (San Juan) festivities in Cotacachi, Ecuador, 24 June 2010. ‘La toma de la Plaza’ (Taking of the square) is an ancient ritual kept by Andean indigenous communities. From the early morning of the feast day, various groups of San Juan dancers from remote mountain villages dance in a slow trot towards the main square of Cotacachi. Reaching the plaza, Indians start to dance around. They pound in synchronized dance rhythm, shout loudly, whistle and wave whips, showing the strength and aggression. Dancers from either the upper communities (El Topo) or the lower communities (La Calera), joined in respective coalitions, seek to conquer and dominate the square and do not let their rivals enter. If not moderated by the police in time, the high tension between groups always ends up in violent clashes.

Text and foto: Jan Sochor

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