Legal arguments begin in trial over repression on December 19-20, 2001

This brutal crackdown on protesters at the height of an economic, social and political crisis caused five deaths and 227 injuries, in Buenos Aires alone.

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On November 11, the legal arguments will began in the trial over the deaths caused by the repression of protests on December 20, 2001 in the city of Buenos Aires. On Thursday, November 12, CELS will begin setting forth its pleading on behalf of the families of Gastón Riva and Diego Lamagna.

After 20 months of hearings, the trial is moving into its final stage. It seeks to determine the criminal responsibility of 16 agents of the Argentine Federal Police and former National Security Secretary Enrique Mathov for the events that took place in city center.

Argentina’s president at the time, Fernando De la Rúa, declared a state of siege late on December 19, sparking protests throughout the city. That same night, police repression injured dozens of people, including Jorge Demetrio Cárdenas, who was shot on the stairs of the congressional building by a bullet from a federal policeman’s regulation weapon. The next morning, the executive branch ordered that the emblematic Plaza de Mayo be vacated, which led to a brutal crackdown that caused the deaths of Riva, Lamagna, Carlos “Petete” Almirón, Alberto Márquez and Gustavo Ariel Benedetto. Also, 227 people were injured and more than 300 detained near the presidential palace.