Thousands in Argentina protested Thursday against state repression, austerity measures and demanding the release of all political prisoners. The massive demonstration was called by the coordinator group Memory, Truth and Justice Encounter, which includes 300 human rights, social, political and labor organizations.
The organization was created in 1996 to organize a yearly march against the military dictatorship that ruled the country between 1976 and 1983, but has recently become more active in response to an increase in human rights abuses.
Among their demands is the liberation of Cesar Arakaki of the Worker's Party and other political prisoners detained during the massive protests that took place between Dec. 14 and 18 against pension reforms sponsored by Argentina's right-wing President Mauricio Macri.
According to the organizations, the government's actions against those who chose to resist the pension reforms seek to discourage people from exercising their right to protest.
"The message of discipline the government tries to give is so brutal that through the security ministry they have sued lawmakers who refused to debate pension reforms on Dec. 14," read the official statement. Demonstrators also demanded justice for the killings of activists Santiago Maldonado and Rafael Nahuel by state security forces.
Maldonado was disappeared in the midst of police crackdown on a Mapuche protest, he remained missing for 78 days until they found his corpse. Emmanuel Echazu, the only person charged in the case was recently promoted by the Argentine security ministry.
The wide range of organizations also rejected the decision to grant genocide convict Miguel Etchecolatz house arrest. The federal court's decision has been met with widespread criticism, including from Etchecolatz's biological daughter who said he should remain in jail until the "end of his days."
A female protester vowed that such demonstrations will continue to flood the streets in order to put an end to the "austerity and repression plan" by the Macri government.