March in Buenos Aires Commemorates Coup, Demands Justice

March 26, 2013
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Protest march, Buenos Aires. Photo Eilís O'Neill.

On Sunday, participants in Argentina’s National Day of Memory march stretched the whole length of the Avenida de Mayo—from the Congressional Plaza to the Plaza de Mayo, in front of the presidential palace. That’s a distance of almost two kilometers. They came together to commemorate March 24, 1976, when the military overthrew a democratically-elected government and launched a seven-year dictatorship.

Protest march, Buenos Aires. Photo Eilís O'Neill.

“But this is not just a historical commemoration,” says José Castillo, of the Socialist Left. “We think it’s necessary to end yesterday’s impunity—that is, the genocide carried out by the dictatorship—because it’s not true that everyone’s been put on trial; there are a ton that haven’t been. And we also need to end today’s impunity—the new cases of human rights violations. In the last few years, we’ve seen the murder of Mariano Ferreyra; we’ve seen the murders of the indigenous Qom people.”*

(Mariano Ferreyra was a student leader and Workers’ Party activist who was murdered in October 2010 at a political rally. At the time, he was twenty-three years old.)

Participants in the march called for the trials of the civilian accomplices of the dictatorship and for the derogation of the country’s anti-terrorism law, which they say criminalizes social protest and thereby represents a continuation of dictatorship-esque policies.

Protest march, Buenos Aires. Photo Eilís O'Neill.

Protest march, Buenos Aires. Photo Eilís O'Neill.

Protest march, Buenos Aires. Photo Eilís O'Neill.

Protest march, Buenos Aires. Photo Eilís O'Neill.

Protest march, Buenos Aires. Photo Eilís O'Neill.

*”Pero no es simplemente algo histórico. Nosotros planteamos que es necesario terminar con la impunidad de ayer, o sea, de los genocidios de la dictadura, que no es cierto que están [sic] todos juzgados, un montón que no, y también la impunidad de hoy, de los nuevos casos de violaciones a los derechos humanos. En estos últimos años, hemos tenido el asesinato de Mariano Ferreyra; hemos tenido los asesinatos de los pueblos originarios Qom”.

Eilís O’Neill is a freelance journalist currently based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She works in print and radio and covers many topics, with a particular focus on social issues and gender.

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