Thousands of demonstrators packed the Plaza de Congreso yesterday evening to call for justice for the victims of “insecurity, injustice, and impunity” in Argentina.
The event brought together survivors of different forms of violence as well as the friends and family of many who lost their lives or have disappeared.
Journalists Lorena Maciel and Luis Novaresio addressed the crowd with a message of solidarity, saying: “we share grief, but also the pursuit of justice.”
The event, publicised on social media using the hashtag #ParaQueNoTePase (“so it does not happen to you”), commenced a few minutes before 7pm on Tuesday evening. Many demonstrators carried signs with the face of loved ones that they had lost, or customised T-shirts printed with pictures and messages. Some individuals carried signs reading “A mi ya me pasó” (it already happened to me).
Maciel and Novaresio emphasised the lack of accountability on the part of the police and judicial system. They repeatedly stressed that kidnappings and killings occur in part because certain groups act with impunity and do not fear legal repercussions for their actions. Families of victims seeking information and transparent legal proceedings, they said, are met with “total indifference on the part of the state.”
Yesterday night’s event did not focus on statistics, but on the rights of every individual and family touched by violence. The organisers explicitly asked that attendees do not bring political banners.
Earlier this year, Security Minister Patricia Bullrich made headlines by denying that there was a “wave” of kidnappings in Buenos Aires province.
However, key government figures express support for yesterday’s march. “We have to celebrate this gathering and understand that it is a call for awareness for all Argentines,” said Human Rights Secretary Claudio Avruj.
Maciel and Novaresio read a list of demands that included creating a registry that would record victims and crimes that had gone unpunished. They called for legal processes that fairly include victims in their own cases, and for the provision of effective legal assistance to victims. They also noted that penalties for crimes must be effectively enforced by the justice system.
“We know that the people who can do this are listening,” they said.
Earlier in the day, Gustavo Ferrari, the Minister of Justice for Buenos Aires province, said that the government had been working on new legislation to ensure more transparent legal processes and legal counsel to victims.
Despite harsh rhetoric aimed at the state’s law enforcement and legal institutions, the event also displayed national pride. Singer Marcela Morelo opened the event with a rendition of “Argentina, Te Quiero.” After the main speeches, the crowd joined in a chorus of the national anthem.