Monday, 30 April 2012
Argentina: 35th anniversary of Mothers of Plaza de Mayo
On Thursday, 30 April 1977, a small group of women met in the Plaza de Mayo with the aim of handing over a letter to then-president Jorge Videla, appealing for information about the whereabouts of their children, detained by the military regime. At that time, unauthorised public gatherings of more than three people had been forbidden, so the police moved in to break them up. The women started to move around the square in a circle, linking arms in pairs - there was no ban on just walking in twos. And so one of Argentina's, and indeed the world's, most influential human rights groups was born.
Fast forward 35 years, and the Madres have endured humiliation, persecution, and a split within their own organisation. They have also been honoured internationally, travelled all over the world, assisted relatives' groups in other countries and finally been acccepted by their own country's establishment. Some have died, while others have been able to witness the generals on trial for their crimes. But the remaining mothers whose health permits it still gather in the square every Thursday.
The BBC article has published an excellent background article on the mothers for the anniversary, which also explains the division of the Madres into two separate groups.
Argentine Mothers mark 35 years marching for justice (BBC)
En la misma plaza como hace 35 años (Pagina/12)