By R. Renee Yaworsky
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina—Protests erupted nationwide in Argentina after the killing of a young activist. Mariano Ferreyra, 23, was shot Wednesday while demonstrating with railway workers who demanded better pay and benefits. At least two others were injured by gunfire, including a 57-year-old woman who is now suffering from a serious head wound. The gunman is still unidentified.
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has denied any government involvement in Ferreyra’s murder. “Violence must be condemned by everybody,” she said at a rally at the Government House. “We are all responsible. I don’t want to live in an Argentina where people leave their houses armed with sticks and weapons. I’m going to defend every demonstration, but not with sticks or guns.”
The President went on to criticize people who “believe that by repressing they show authority,” saying at another rally: “Some were looking for a new death in Argentina; as they couldn’t achieve it in democracy, these kinds of violent groups appear.”
Opposition groups have denounced the government, accusing it of covering up the “union bureaucracy” they see as being responsible for Ferreyra’s death.
“Murder cannot be the response to a demand from workers,” Hugo Yasky, a union leader, said Thursday.
Although some members of the police force were present at the railway demonstration where Ferreyra died, no officers are currently under investigation.
On Thursday, widespread protests swept across the country as a backlash to Ferreyra’s death. Protesters blocked roads and interrupted public transportation after a labor federation called a general strike.
Two airline companies in Argentina—LAN and Aerolineas Argentinas– are also protesting Ferreyra’s death. Unionists from both airlines said they will stop operations from 12:00-2:00pm (for LAN) and 2:00-3:00pm (for Aerolineas Argentinas). The protests are expected to increase flight delays.
For more information, please see:
Buenos Aires Herald-‘I don’t want to live in an Argentina where people leave their houses with sticks and guns,’ CFK-21October 2010
Latin American Herald Tribune-Union Member’s Killing Spurs General Strike in Argentina-21 October 2010
Momento24-Airline companies protesting because of the death of Mariano Ferreyra-21 October 2010
Monsters and Critics-Protests in Argentina after activist was killed-21 October 2010