Thousands of people rallied outside Congress on Tuesday evening to demand justice for Fernando Báez Sosa, the 18-year-old who was beaten to death in Villa Gesell last month.
Demonstrators marched in a rebuke to violence in Argentina and to demand the killers of Báez Sosa – who was brutally beaten to death by a group of young rugby players outside a nightclub – be brought to justice.
The rally, which had satellite events at several different locations throughout the country, was convened by Báez Sosa's parents. At one march held in Villa Gesell, where the incident took place, protesters called for a trial to take place as soon as possible.
Thousands of people sang in unison at the Buenos Aires rally, which was organised by Báez Sosa's family and friends.
“We are all Fernando; we are all Fernando!”, “We feel Fernando; Fernando is present!” shouted the attendants, who mostly carried printed sheets and posters with the victim's photograph.
The event marked just one month after Báez Sosa's death in Villa Gesell, a resort town on the Atlantic coast some 370 kilometres (230 miles) south of Buenos Aires. He died as a result of blows to the head and body.
"It's terrible, they didn't give him the opportunity to defend himself, he was betrayed," said Graciela Sosa, the victim's mother, in a broken voice. "I want justice for my son, to pay what they did to him."
"Justice for my son is to see the guilty made prisoners for life," she added, in an emotional speech outside the Congress building.
"What they did to my son is not forgiven ... He was a good boy who loved life," she added.
The case has shocked Argentines and dominated media headlines since a video of the January 18 incident began circulating widely on social media.
Prosecutors have accused 10 people between 18 and 20 years old — all from Zárate — of the crime. Most played rugby as members of the Arsenal Yacht Club.
Eight of the defendants – Lucas Pertossi, Luciano Pertossi, Enzo Comelli, Máximo Thomsen, Blas Cinalli, Ciro Pertossi, Matías Franco Benicelli and Ayrton Michael Viollaz – are detained behind bars, held as “co-authors” of the aggravated homicide. Two others – Alejo Milanesi and Juan Pedro Guarino – have been freed on bail, accused of being “necessary participants.”
A judge has accused the group of acting with "malice" in the attack outside a nightclub.
Argentina recorded a rate of 5.3 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2018, the latest official figure reported by the national criminal information system (SNIC). Although it is low for the region, acts of violence within the country have been on the rise.