Protests in Buenos Aires: activists detained and migrants persecuted

While repressing the October 24th protest, the police detained social and political activists. In addition, the national government threatened to deport the migrants who were detained.

On Wednesday, October 24, the police repressed protesters during a demonstration against the national budget bill near Congress. They shot tear gas, pepper gas and rubber bullets at a group of people who were throwing stones. As a consequence, these groups withdrew along with the columns of demonstrators.

Later, groups of City Police with vehicles began to intervene, pursuing the columns that were retreating and launching a new phase of the operation, no longer focused on dispersing situations of conflict but rather on dissolving the protest, persecuting and detaining activists. As seen in previous demonstrations, the detentions were carried out far from where the incidents actually occurred, at least 10 or 15 blocks away.

During the repression, the security forces once again used force in an irrational manner, particularly by utilizing crowd-control weapons to attack demonstrators rather than to defend themselves, as the standards indicate. Also, police without proper identification participated in the detentions, a practice already denounced before the municipal government and which officials vowed would not happen again. A total of 26 people were detained.

The prosecutor on duty decided to release all those detained without investigating them. In nearly all the cases, the police accusations involved assault and resisting authority, very minor offenses that the police use to justify detentions without cause. During the protests that took place on March 8 and December 18, 2017, the police also made mass detentions that, months later, the courts determined were arbitrary and baseless.

In contrast to previous repressions, this time very few detentions affected people who had not participated in the protest. Twenty two of the 26 detentions were clearly aimed at activists from different social and labor organizations: Astilleros trade union, Suteba, La Poderosa, Movimiento Evita, CTA and MTL. Many of these people were beaten. In addition, four migrants were detained. Today the national government publicly asked that they be immediately expelled from the country, which would violate current laws and regulations and which seeks to link migration with crime.

Photo: Emergentes