Tens of thousands mark coup anniversary in Argentina
Buenos Aires, Mar 24 (EFE).- More than 90,000 people marched in this capital Friday on the occasion of Argentina’s Day of Memory, Truth, and Justice, marking the 47th anniversary of the coup that ushered in seven years of brutal rule by the military.
The 1976-1983 regime killed some 30,000 people, while tens of thousands more suffered torture and arbitrary imprisonment.
Political and social activists, union members, and citizens unaffiliated with any organization made their way from various points in Buenos Aires to the Plaza de Mayo, site of Congress and the presidential palace.
There, the crowd listened to speakers honoring the Mothers and the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who mounted silent protests in the square during the darkest days of the “dirty war” to demand the safe return of children and grandchildren abducted by agents of the junta.
“I am here to be part of those who want to keep memory alive in the face of the multiple atrocities the soldiers committed during the dictatorship. Let nobody forget that this happened and can continue happening if we do not take care,” Daniela Campos, a law student at the University of Buenos Aires, told EFE.
More than 1,100 people have been convicted for their roles in the repression, while another 3,650 individuals are under investigation.
Of those convicted and sentenced, 546 are serving their time under house arrest due to advanced age or health issues, and 1,036 people charged with dirty war crimes died awaiting trial or after they were found guilty.
“Forty-seven years after the genocidal coup, Memory, Truth, and Justice to defend democracy,” was the theme of Friday’s rally, where many denounced the rising dirty-war denialism of the Argentine right.
This year’s observance comes months before a presidential election that will likely not include the preferred candidate of the center-left governing Peronist coalition, Vice President Cristina Fernandez, who faces a lifetime ban on public office if her recent conviction on corruption charges is upheld on appeal.
Fernandez, 70, was indicted over alleged improprieties in the awarding of public works contracts during the 2003-2007 presidency of her late husband, Nestor Kirchner, and her own 2007-2015 tenure as head of state.
She denies the accusations and says that the prosecution is an example of lawfare: the use of the law and judiciary to damage or delegitimize an opponent.
Members of La Campora, a powerful Peronist faction aligned with Fernandez, marched into Playa de Mayo with lawmaker Maximo Kirchner – her son – in the lead, chanting “We are all with Cristina to liberate the country.” EFE