March 24, 2017
Tens of thousands were killed or disappeared during Argentina’s Dirty War.
Argentines took part in marches on Friday to commemorate the 41st anniversary of a military coup which started the country’s brutal dictatorship. In the National Day of Memory for Truth, many remembered victims of the dictatorship and denounced the human rights setbacks under right-wing President Mauricio Macri’s administration.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to fill the streets and remember victims of successive military dictatorships which started in 1976, when Jorge Rafael Videla came to power in a coup against left-wing President Isabel Peron. The military dictatorship ended in 1983.
Victim and survivor organizations such as Mothers and Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, Relatives of Disappeared and Arrested for Political Reasons and HIJOS were at the forefront of the memorial and critical of the Macri government’s indifference toward remembering the dictatorship, as he previously stated that he would not pursue trials against those involved in dictatorship-era crimes because it was a task for the country’s court system.
Many also used the day to condemn Macri’s neo-liberal economic policies, where cuts and harsh austerity measures by the government continue to hit workers hard. On Tuesday, large-scale protests were also staged by teachers demanding a pay rise to combat rising inflation in the country.
Trade unionists, students and others also joined in Friday’s marches and many were seen taking to the streets with commemorative ribbons and slogans including “Nevermore” and “The same economic plan, the same struggle. Let’s stop the planned misery.”
The country’s Dirty War saw widespread repression of left-wing students, journalists, labor leaders and democracy advocates. The Dirty War in Argentina was part of Operation Condor, a Cold War-era campaign where the U.S. backed right-wing military dictatorships and helped quash socialist movements. Up to 30,000 are estimated to have been killed or disappeared during the brutal regime.