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ARGENTINA | 24-03-2023 19:16

'Never again': Demonstrators in Argentina rally on dictatorship coup anniversary

Tens of thousands of people marched on Friday on the 47th anniversary of the 1976 military coup d'état, marking Argentina's National Day of Memory for Truth and Justice.

Tens of thousands of people marched on Friday to Buenos Aires' historic Plaza de Mayo and parks across Argentina on the 47th anniversary of the 1976 military coup d'état, known officially as Argentina's National Day of Memory for Truth and Justice.

As occurs each year, huge crowds of Argentines pay tribute on this date to the thousands of disappeared and victims from the dictatorship under the now legendary slogan of "Nunca más." ("Never again"). 

"My father [Ángel Pisarello] was kidnapped and murdered for being a lawyer for political prisoners," his son, Gerardo Pisarello, a former high-ranking official in the city of Barcelona, the place he has chosen to live in since 2001, told Radio 750 in a packed Plaza de Mayo.

At nightfall, human rights organisations read a document in a final act, but the mobilisations exctended throughout the day in the streets and avenues of cities and towns in the extensive geography of this country of 45 million inhabitants.

"I am reflecting positively on how Argentina was able to resolve such a painful process as the coup, genocide and torture, and this example is recognised worldwide," Interior Minister Eduardo 'Wado' De Pedro, the son of two political activists kidnapped and murdered by agents of the dictatorship, told Radio Destape on his way to the square.

Since 2003, when Congress repealed amnesty laws adopted under the right-wing government of Carlos Menem (1985-1989), 1,115 former military and police officers have been convicted in almost 300 trials, according to statistics from the Office of the Attorney General for Crimes Against Humanity. 

"We have to keep the memory alive, otherwise history repeats itself," Estela de Carlotto, the president of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, whose organisation has so far managed to recover the identity of 132 people who were taken from their detained and disappeared mothers as babies, told Radio 750.

The evidence of a systematic plan of appropriation of babies, many of them born in captivity, led to the sentencing to life imprisonment of the dictator Jorge Videla, who had been pardoned by Menem.

Videla died in 2013, while in prison. 

"This year is special, it's 40 years of democracy [on December10 ] and 20 years since the repeal of the amnesty laws," said the government's human rights secretary, Horacio Pietragalla Corti, who was appropriated as a baby and later became the "75th grandchild" recovered by Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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