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ARGENTINA | 24-03-2022 22:00

Argentines take to streets, marking 46th anniversary of 1976 military coup

Tens of thousands of Argentines march to the Plaza de Mayo on the 46th anniversary of the coup that installed the brutal 1976-1983 military dictatorship.

Tens of thousands of Argentines marched again to the Plaza de Mayo on the 46th anniversary of the coup that installed a dictatorship responsible for tens of thousands of disappearances, exiles and executions in clandestine centers.

With the cry of "30,000 detained-disappeared! Present!", Taty Almeida, of the humanitarian organisation Madres de Plaza de Mayo-Línea Fundadora, closed the act, after warning that "we are not going to allow democracy to be damaged, since recovered (in 1983) this town takes care of her forever".

In a climate of celebration for returning to the streets of the Argentine capital after the covid pandemic, which prevented this emblematic march from taking place in 2020 and 2021, the protesters demanded "memory, truth and justice."

Those three words were repeated in numerous intervened masks, while others had "There are 30,000" and "Never Again" written on them.

Some members of the Mothers and Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, all over 90 years old, accompanied the march from a bus, while a huge flag of more than 200 meters with photos of the faces of the disappeared carried by relatives was unfurled in the streets. and activists. 

"I follow in my mother's footsteps looking for my detained-disappeared brother in Misiones (northeast), who is here (in a photo) with the 30,000. May the Argentine people never again lack democracy, participation, commitment We want justice, to be told what happened," María Graciela Leyes, 63, one of those carrying the flag, told AFP.

In Argentina, the dictatorship had successive presidents. The first to take office on March 24, 1976 was Jorge Videla, who died in prison at the age of 87, sentenced to life imprisonment. He was followed by Roberto Viola (March to December 1981), Leopoldo Galtieri (December 1981 to September 1982) and Reynaldo Bignone (until December 10, 1983). 

 

More justice

Earlier, another massive demonstration by the radical left parties focused criticism on the government's recent agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to refinance the debt of some USD$45,000 million granted in 2018 to former liberal president Mauricio Macri.

"30,000 detained-disappeared compañeras and compañeros, present! No to the government-IMF agreement!" read their flag.

The center-left president Alberto Fernández led another act in the morning in which the reparation of the files of eight workers and scientists of the National Science and Technology Commission (Conicet) was announced, where it will appear that they suffered "forced disappearance".

"The dictatorship was merciless because it was afraid of thought," said Fernández. "We all know that there was a dictatorship that persecuted, killed, murdered, condemned to exile, made Argentina disappear and postponed as no other government ever did," he added.

On his side, the entire Argentine soccer team, with its star Lionel Messi, posed with a large flag that reads "More memory, more truth and more justice", published on social networks.

The 'Albiceleste' is concentrated in Buenos Aires, where it will play on Friday against Venezuela for the South American qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, in a match that was to be played this Thursday and was rescheduled at the request of human rights organisations.

 

Trials and convictions

Since the 1986 and 1987 amnesty laws were annulled, trials for crimes against humanity resumed in 2006. 46 years after the coup, Argentina has 20 trials underway and another 65 await a start date.

According to data from the Office of the Prosecutor for Crimes against Humanity, so far 1,058 people have been convicted in 273 sentences issued throughout the country.

There are currently 764 detainees, of which 118 are in jail and the others under house arrest. 

Another 542 are on trial awaiting trial and 573 defendants have not yet been called to testify. Among the accused, 964 have died and 22 are fugitives.

-TIMES/AFP

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by AFP/Liliana Samuel

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