Friday, September 14, 2012
By Jaime Rosemberg
Pots, lids, whistles, horns, trumpets, drums or simply thunderous applause. All of this made a lot of noise yesterday as a backdrop for the biggest anti-Kirchner demonstration since the crisis between the government and the farmers in 2008.
Without visible political leadership, the protest surged from social media in recent weeks and managed to join together, starting at 7:30pm and over more than two hours, into a massive crowd at the Plaza de Mayo, in other Buenos Aires neighborhoods and in the main cities in the interior. According to Metro Police, some 200,000 people congregated in front of the Casa Rosada, while experts consulted by LA NACION calculated between 50,000 and 60,000 people.
The themes of the march, which unfolded peacefully and without incidents, were various: the dollar controls, the Kirchnerist attempt at re-election, the 6 pesos that according to INDEC are enough to eat with in a day and the corruption scandals that have hit the government – like the Ciccone printing company – as the main motives for criticism from those present, a heterogeneous mosaic with a large presence of women and young people.
Despite adhering to the march, various parties of the center-right opted to attend the mobilization in a discreet manner, without banners nor speeches. PRO legislator Rogelio Frigerio, Facundo Suárez Lastra of the UCR and Julio Raffo, a leader close to Fernando Solanas, were among the few that were seen in the crowds, as well as second line officials of the city government.
The Political Action Group for Unity (GAPU) also mobilized, fundamentally around Patricia Bullrich (UpT) and Eduardo Amadeo (Dissident Peronist). He was charged with hiring the truck with the placard “We are not afraid”, which drove around the plaza and from which came the chant “We will soon prevail”, led by Jairo. “It’s a demonstration against re-election and for liberty,” said Bullrich.
Overall, no one could attribute the success of the gathering, which surpassed even the most optimistic predictions. “Opponents, lay eggs to defend liberty,” said one sign held by a tall, grey-haired man.
After 7:00pm, and together with the last preparations of the police line that protects the Casa Rosada, the plaza began to fill up. “We came to see if the President takes into account that many people don’t agree with what she is doing, this is a dictatorship,” said Pablo, who came with his wife, Mimi, from Villa del Parque. “It’s not a dictatorship, but we want to live in a country without corruption,” Mimi corrected him, she being a blonde little more than 50 years old.
"The K-dictatorship will end,” and “if this isn’t the people, where are the people?” were the most repeated chants by people, who said them over and over in waves that were incessant. The youths of the Libertarian Liberal party added color with masks of the President with a crown and of a smiling Vice President Amado Boudou.
At 8:30pm, the concentration reached its peak and the Diagonal Norte held a sea of Argentine flags waving without a pause. “I’m tired of hearing her on TV, I don’t want a democracy where you have to ask permission for everything,” said Stella Maris, a 60 year old woman with a tan and impeccable clothes.
Starting at 8:30pm, the national anthem began to be heard form loudspeakers every 20 minutes. One hour later, a helicopter appeared behind the Casa Rosada leading to confusion and aggressive chanting. “You’ll go like De la Rua!” screamed one young person wearing a t-shirt from the rock bank Almafuerte, while the pots resumed their incessant banging.
At 9:30pm, the crowd began to leave, in groups of four or five people, as families or alone, however they came in, many of them through the metro lines.
Shortly afterwards came the positive reactions from the political opposition. “The people said they don’t want to be led with fear,” said Mayor Mauricio Macri, who admitted to feeling “contented” by the massive crowd.
"The government has tried to fracture Argentine society and it managed to do it, the urban society spontaneously showed it was fed up with this arrogance and the hiding of the truth by the Madame President,” said Gerardo Miman, of the FAP. “The demonstrations are a clear call to attention over the deep institutional degradation that our country is suffering,” Solanas said.