BUENOS AIRES – Argentina’s Attorney-General started investigating complaints made by inhabitants of a villa in Buenos Aires accusing security forces of firing rubber bullets to clear a group of children who were rehearsing for the upcoming carnival.
After collecting evidence, the Argentine Prosecutor General’s Office of Institutional Violence (Procuvin) denounced on Tuesday the actions of members of the security forces, who they accuse of carrying out the shooting.
Following the controversy that erupted from the spread of pictures showing injured children, the Argentine Security Ministry also looked into the incidents and formed a committee of the Undersecretary for Citizen Participation to gather information and evidence and to assess what happened, the ministry said in a statement.
According to what the inhabitants of the area told EFE, the incident took place on Jan. 29 in a villa located in the south of the neighborhood of Flores, when security forces fired rubber bullets at around 80 children aged 4-11 belonging to the murga (carnival dancing troupe) Los Autenticos Reyes del Ritmo, which left eight people seriously injured, five of whom are minors.
The incident provoked controversy in the country and social media was abuzz with demands for explanations of what happened, while the Argentine cabinet chief Marcos Pena claimed at a media conference to “go to the bottom” and “investigate” the repression committed by the security forces.
He also noted that there are “two injured officers who were shot in the same operation.” The incident will also have to be investigated, although, according to the statement published by the Argentine Attorney-General on its website, until now there is no evidence indicating that the attacked people had weapons.
Gustavo Gonzalez, leader of the murga, wrote a letter on the La Garganta Poderosa Facebook page, where he related the actions of the security forces and denied that the children had thrown stones at police officers, as the city’s government stated.
According to Gonzalez, two people are still being treated at the Piñero Hospital in the capital city – a boy who suffered serious injuries from being shot in the head with rubber bullets and a woman who was also injured.
In a message which accompanied photos of the injuries caused by the shooting, Gonzalez also said that a 6-year-old boy almost lost an eye from the rubber bullets.