BUENOS AIRES – A thousands-strong mass rally filled the heart of Buenos Aires to demand justice for victims of crime and call on the state to bring more security and less impunity to thwart violence-related deaths.
“Justice” was the most chanted phrase and unanimous request of protesters, who gathered outside of the National Congress of Argentina wielding placards and banners carrying images of loved ones, mostly young people killed in violent crimes.
The demonstrators gathered outside of the National Congress of Argentina at 6 p.m. local time Tuesday (2100 GMT) to demand security, an end to impunity and justice for the victims.
Some of the victims were killed during an armed robbery on their homes. Others were attacked just a few meters from their houses or died in hit-and-run incidents, but all of the fatalities are bound together by their violent nature.
The resounding call was one for unity because “it concerns all of us” and “we are all victims,” stressed three presenters who called themselves the voice of the victims during the rally.
More than 2,000 people participated in the demonstration, organized by the relatives of victims of violent crimes through Facebook under the slogan of “Because it happened to us, so it doesn’t happen to you.”
For Juan Carlos Miranda, the father of a young man shot dead in his home during a robbery, the rally is highly significant.
“But not for Juan Manuel Miranda because unfortunately Juan Manuel Miranda is already dead. This is very important so that it does not happen again. For us Argentinians, unfortunately, the only way we have (to ask) is this,” Miranda lamented to EFE.
“Matthias was coming home from work, 19 years old. He grabbed his lunch and went to the gym. He did not return. Six blocks from my house he was killed, with 8 stab wounds, dead. And all for a cell phone,” another victim’s mother, Karina Gandolfo, told EFE.
“We are not asking for penalties that are contradictory, or anything that is uncommon. We are asking for a right: the right to life first and the second right to justice,” she added.
The demonstration was repeated in other Argentine cities including the eastern coastal city of Mar del Plata, Bahia Blanca in the southwest, the central cities of Santa Fe and Rosario, Jujuy to the north and the town of General La Madrid in Buenos Aires province.