Argentine President Mauricio Macri was confronted on Monday by individuals who asked about the whereabouts of Santiago Maldonado, a young activist who was allegedly kidnapped by the government more than a month ago, as his relatives claim.
Macri was speaking at Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires when a group of people shouted: “Where is Santiago?” The question triggered mass applause inside of the hall.
Human rights organizations accuse Macri’s government of allowing police to forcibly remove Maldonado on Aug. 1, during a military police raid on an Indigenous Mapuche community. Witnesses said they saw officers shove the 28-year-old into a van and drive away, but the government denies involvement.
“We are working and collaborating with justice (officials) as much as possible. We must continue working together,” Macri responded as security guards appeared to close the doors of the hall.
Macri was later asked by a reporter about violent clashes between police and protesters during a recent march to demand justice for Maldonado.
“I regret it very much because we are at a time when we don't want violence,” he said while walking towards an elevator.
Macri's first words on the disappearance of Maldonado.
Last week, Buenos Aires Governor Maria Eugenia Vidal was called out by a man on the street.
As she walked over to him to talk, she was asked if she knew where Maldonado was — she immediately walked away, visibly angry. The man added that he was looking for Maldonado and that if she could ask Macri if he knows where she is.
-Hola María Eugenia, te pregunto: sabes dónde está Santiago Maldonado? Lo estamos buscando. Si lo ves a Macri le preguntas por favor?— Abel (@abelrcp) September 1, 2017
- ... pic.twitter.com/jBPKuL1ZVc
Hello, Maria Eugenia, I ask you: Do you know where Santiago Maldonado is? We are looking for him. If you see Macri, would you ask him, please?
After Maldonado’s disappearance, the Argentine president said the government put itself “to the service of justice” so that the investigation can be done “without pre-judging” and not discarding any line of research.
“We have to be very cautious and stay away from prejudices and violent manifestations,” Macri added.
On Aug. 11, Macri made a small reference to the case, where he said the government was working “to try to see what happened.”
The Washington based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, IACHR, has urged Argentina to take “the necessary measures to determine the situation and whereabouts” of Maldonado as well as to report on the investigation of the facts.