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Argentines march en masse against the crimes of the dictatorship

Photo: Rodrigo Abd Associated Press For long hours on Sunday, the center of Buenos Aires was paralyzed, several avenues leading to the emblematic Plaza de Mayo (in the photo) teeming with human tides, in one of the most followed gatherings in recent years.

Leila Macor – Agence France-Presse and Tomás Viola – Agence France-Presse in Buenos Aires

March 24, 2024

  • Americas

By tens of thousands, Argentines demonstrated on Sunday, the day of remembrance of the victims of the dictatorship (1976-1983), to say “more than ever, never again! », marches tinged with accusations of revisionism from the Milei government.

For long hours, the center of Buenos Aires was paralyzed, several avenues leading to the emblematic May Square teeming with human tides, in one of the most followed gatherings in recent years, on this “Memory Day”. , noted journalists from Agence France-Presse (AFP).

This March 24 commemorates the 1976 coup d'état bringing the military junta to power, which left 30,000 people dead or missing, according to a report by human rights organizations.

A record now more and more openly contested by the executive of President Javier Milei (he speaks of less than 9,000) and his vice-president, Victoria Villaruel, close to military circles (daughter and niece of officers, one of whom was worried for his role under the dictatorship).

The “complete” truth

Contested, in the name of a “complete truth”, of “memory and justice for all”, a reference to the victims of the far-left guerrillas of the 1970s. A “war”, therefore, (between State and guerrillas) with its “excesses”, more than a dictatorship, according to this reading of power.

“Really 30,000! “, “Everything is stored in memory! » “Yes to memory, no to fear! “, “Yes to the rights, no to the right” were the slogans seen on Sunday on banners and placards, alongside portraits of the disappeared held up at arm's length.

Other marches were planned in provincial towns.

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To mark this “Memory Day”, the government released a 12-minute video, in which it presents “its version” of the dictatorship's record, talks about the victims of the ex-guerrillas, and once again disputes the toll of 30,000 victims.

He cites in particular a former guerrilla, who claims that he himself created the figure of 30,000.

“We reject government denialism and the apology of state terrorism. There were 30,000 of them! » replied human rights activist and 1980 Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel (92) on Sunday to the crowd gathered in the Plaza de Mayo.

“Today more than ever, we must defend memory and take to the streets in the context of the violence exercised by this government,” Maria Gianni, a 31-year-old protester, told AFP. “We must support these mothers and grandmothers [of the disappeared] who fought in their time. »

These mothers, and the survivors of the grandmothers, are the stars of March 24 every year, like Estela de Carlotto (93 years old), founder of the Grands-Mères, mother of one who disappeared, and who in 2014 found her grandson, one of the “stolen babies” under the dictatorship.

Claim for the missing, again

“We are not enemies of anyone,” she said Sunday. “But faced with a government that offends us […], the people are clearer than ever,” she added.

Before telling the crowd, a few meters from the Casa Rosada (presidency): “We continue to demand, to ask where the bodies of our missing are. »

Since the resumption in 2006 of trials for crimes under the dictatorship — after a period of amnesty in the 1990s — 1,176 people have been convicted, 661 are currently in detention, and 79 proceedings remain ongoing , according to court data.

We continue to demand, to ask where the bodies of our missing are.

— Estela de Carlotto

The marches of March 24, a traditionally family, festive and rather apolitical occasion – although very popular on the left – were associated for the first time this year by major trade unions, in a context of austerity shock for three months by the ultraliberal government of Milei, to fight against chronic inflation (211% in 2023).

Hence a decidedly more political tone on Sunday, and a flowering of slogans and slogans reflecting a threatening social conflict, against a backdrop of strangled purchasing power (-18% in two months) and poverty affecting nearly 50% of the population.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116