[Argentina] Important demonstration for the freedom and end of persecution to political activists

On Jan 11, there was a major demonstration against the repressive escalade by Macri’s government. Since D14 and D18, there are 7 more political prisoners, among them Cesar Arakaki and Dimas Ponce, both militants of the Workers’ Party [PO], accused of injuring a police officer.
By PSTU-Argentina.
Our comrade Sebastián Romero has an order of arrest on him by the Federal Judge Sergio Torres since December 19. Two exemption requests presented by his lawyers were denied. Yesterday, a new request was presented, so far not responded.
Despite the holiday period, thousands marched from the Congress to Plaza de Mayo to demand the freedom and end of persecution to political activists, and for common jail to Etchecolatz and all genocides benefited with house arrest. There were actions in Mendoza and Rosario too, among other cities.
An important part of Sebatián’s friends and family marched in Buenos Aires, leading the demonstration together with Human Rights bodies.

We reproduce here the unitary statement of the Encuentro Memoria, Verdad y Justicia [Memory, Truth, and Justice], read yesterday at the closure:
“We are here to denounce the repressive escalade by Macri’s government and his partners, which implies serious violations of human rights, democratic freedoms, and constitutional rights. They are trying to establish a virtual state of exception to impose a harsh attack on workers and the people.
This is why we mobilize today to this historic Square, that will always belong to the people even if the government closes it with bars. We repudiate the repressive escalade, and we demand common, effective jail for the genocides and immediate freedom and closing of all cases against popular activists currently detained or persecuted!
The latest evidence of impunity are the house arrest for Etchecolatz and other genocides sentenced and the promotion of the gendarme Echazú, one of the responsible ones by the repressive action that killed Santiago Maldonado.
House arrest for Etchecolatz and other genocides is nothing but a disguised amnesty. It caused protests all over the country. In Mar del Plata, there was a major demonstration on Saturday 6, and a crowded escrache[exposure] to his place. In Santiago del Estero, on Tuesday, there was another escrache, to the genocide Antonio Musa Azar. And yesterday, in Mar de Ajó, there was another demonstration of repudiation to the house arrest for the genocide Norberto Bianco. “It will be like with the Nazis: wherever you go, we will go after you!”[1]
The repressive offensive made a leap since the forced disappearance followed by the death of Santiago Maldonado and the murder of Rafael Nahuel, both by the security forces under orders of Minister Patricia Bullrich Luro Pueyrredón.
The demonstrations for Santiago faced arbitrary persecution and detentions of demonstrators, with the opening of criminal cases.
On D12, the government repressed the demonstration against the WTO. On D13, it repressed the social movements demonstrating in the center of the city, causing countless detained and injured, among them national deputies. On the Days of D14 and D18 against the Social Security Reform, the repression against hundreds of thousands of people included toxic gases, and there was a brutal persecution and hunting when people were already leaving the streets. The use of rubber bullets and stones by the security forces, targetting women’s breasts and men’s faces, left hundreds of wounded, some of them really serious, and 3 demonstrators lost an eye.
Following the national government, in several provinces, the governors also repress and persecute those who struggle. Among other cases, they repressed the Wichí community, in Formosa, with lead bullets; they repressed the state workers in Santa Cruz, and the workers of Ingenio La Esperanza, in Jujuy. On this last case, the immediate response and solidarity achieved the liberation of all detainees.
A serious background is the “report” of the Ministry of Security and the governors of Neuquén, Río Negro, and Chubut to repress indigenous peoples, especially the Mapuches. They are trying to create an “internal enemy”, inventing a terrorist group that does not exist, to criminalize the indigenous communities, labor unions, social movements, political organizations, and even the Kurdish Women movement. End persecutions and lies! Freedom without extradition of Facundo Jones Huala!
This authoritarian offensive against the rights and freedoms of our people, with no precedents in the last 35 years, also aims to criminalize the action of deputies like Unidad Ciudadana’s and Frente de Izquierda y los Trabajadores’ [FIT] which are not only being repressed but also legally persecuted by the government. We express our repudiation to this action, too.
The frame completes with an advance against pluralism and freedom of expression, as a consequence of the uniformity and concentration of communication media in a few hands, acting like spokesmen of the government. The massive media bosses, who define the editorial policy, are implementing adjustment policies in their own companies. We repeat: we stand in solidarity with the press workers and alternative media, repressed on D14 and D18 by a government that is willing to do anything to hide the truth.
Prison for Cesar Arakaki on December 19 and for Dimas Fernando Ponce two days ago; persecution and demonization of Sebastián Romero by participating of the popular protest on D18; the arbitrary detention of Rossano, Parodi, Giusto, Giancarelli, and Valotta in the hunting unleashed by Gendarmerie on D14, makes all of them Macri and his accomplice Justice’s new political prisoners, which violate the right to demonstrate to impose their adjustment.
We also denounce that they reject the requests to excarcerate all detainees over and over again with the excuse that it could interfere with the investigation. This is just one more proof of the willing to “discipline” our people and discourage the thousands of young people that demonstrated on D14 and D18.
The accusations that Cesar Arakaki and Dimas Fernando Ponce were authors of a police officer’s injuries, and that Sebastián Romero was a key piece of an alleged rebellion plan – very serious crime – are not supported by any proof, and the entire case is an attempt to transform a popular demonstration into a criminal offense.
The apparition of an alleged house-made explosive in the Police Headquarters, with a note blaming the PO, is another attempt to intimidate the ones that confront the adjustment.
We repudiate the General Attorney Germán Moldes, who is trying to harshen the law for the imprisoned demonstrators not to be excarcerated. And we denounce that judge Serio Torres, serving Macri’s government, imprisons and demonizes the demonstrators as “violent” to hide the repression coming from the State Security Forces.
“Violence” is to respond with stick and gases to social demands. Violence is to force us to coexist with genocides once again. Violence is to sack the retirees’ pockets and those who receive Family Plans. Violence is the labor reform that aims to eliminate historic social rights. Layoffs and wage cuts are violence. Violence is to increase the debt and pass laws mandated by the IMF. It is violence to threat with fines or cut of legal personality to labor unions, political, and social organizations, as an attempt to attack the basic democratic right to protest.
Despite all the police repression and official persecution, and despite the union bureaucracy, the resistance of the working class grows all over the country.
In Azul, the Military Factory workers’ camp continues, against the closing of Fanazul. In La Plata, the resistance against layoffs in the UEP [Executing Province Headquarter – Unidad Ejecutora Provincial] continues, and today there was a regional strike called by ATE.
Press workers are also resisting layoffs in the media. The same thing happens in the Ministry of Defense, were layoffs are affecting even the Human Rights area.
Despite the militarization, the Ministry of Defense is also resisting layoffs.
Municipal workers in Quilmes, Lanús, and 3 de Febrero marched massively yesterday against layoffs.
In Berisso, municipal workers were able to stop the voting of an “economic emergency” plan to adjust, and the Mayor had to sign a no-layoffs commitment.
There are countless struggles by factory in the private sector, like the metal workers of Rapiestant (La Matanza) and Stockl (South of Great Buenos Aires), and Envases del Plata (Morón) and the Oleaginosa Bolívar to reincorporate all fired workers. In Cresta Roja, workers are still in struggle for delayed wages by the company. In Santa Cruz, oil workers are in struggle against the 800-layoff plan in YPF and other companies. The same thing is happening in Molinos Río de La Plata, in Esteban Echeverría and Barracas’ plants.
The government is scared of all these struggles, and this is the cause of the repressive escalade. Massive demonstrations like the one against the pension reform; the popular cacerolazos; the demonstrations against impunity for the genocides… Macri is afraid of the working people and youth on the streets. And thus, we celebrate that the government was forced to postpone his slave-like labor reform in the parliament, and we will continue to fight for it not to pass.
In this frame of struggle, unity, and resistance, we continue to demand:

  • No to house-arrest for Etchecolatz. Common and effective prison to all genocides.
  • Justice for Santiago Maldonado and Rafael Nahuel.
  • Freedom for Cesar Arakaki, the detainees of D14 and D18, and all political prisoners. End the persecution of Sebastián Romero and Dimas Ponce. Closing of all cases against popular activists.
  • Out with Bullrich.
  • Repudiation to the denounce by the Ministry of Security to the opposition deputies that confronted the Social Security Reform.
  • End the persecution of indigenous peoples. Down with the Ministry of Security report.
  • Solidarity with all fired workers in their struggle to be reincorporated.
  • No to Macri’s and governors’ adjustment and repression.
  • No to the package of reforms against workers and the people.

[1] Massive slogan from the revolution in the beginning of the 80s that threw the dictatorship down: “Como a los nazis les va a pasar: a donde vayan los iremos a buscar.”

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