Argentina’s war cemetery in the Malvinas/Falklands has been vandalised. The glass protecting a statue of the Virgin Mary was found to have been smashed and shattered. Families of the deceased are calling it an “act of sacrilege” and blaming British hostility towards Argentines on the island for the crime.
The British government on the island has condemned the incident and local police are carrying out an investigation.
The Virgin figure has been removed until the shrine is repaired.
Malvinas/Falklands legislator Dick Sawle has sent out a plea for anyone with information on the crime to come forward.
“Clearly we condemn any action of this sort and very much regret that this might have happened,” said Sawle, as quoted in The Guardian.
Families of the Argentinian war dead sent letters to Argentinian foreign minister Héctor Timerman and Britain’s ambassador in Buenos Aires, John Freeman, demanding action.
“We believe this reflects escalating hostility by certain British sectors who are influential locally,” their commission said in a statement. “We will not let up until this repugnant act of sacrilege is clarified.”
According to Sebastian Socodo, an Argentine who takes care of the cemetery that holds the remains of 237 Argentinian combatants killed during the 1982 conflict, the vandalism could have happened anytime in the last few weeks.
Judging from images, the glass appears to have been broken by more than a dozen sharp blows. The Virgin figure’s blue and white garments are the only expression of Argentine pride permitted in the islands.
The Argentine foreign ministry issued a statement demanding that the UK government mount an immediate and impartial investigation.
The statement also called on Britain to “end its continuous display of arms, submarines and nuclear capabilities, in violation of international treaties”.