Protesting Malvinas veterans occupy emblematic former “Tower of the English”
Argentine former soldiers deployed to Patagonia during the Malvinas War decided to occupy the Torre Monumental (formerly know as the “Torre de los Ingleses”, or Tower of the English) in Retiro, as they continue with their claim for official recognition of their “war veteran status.”
These former soldiers, who despite being active during the Malvinas War never actually engaged in combat or set foot in the Falklands, have been camping on Plaza de Mayo for more than four years now and from time to time they set up roadblocks on one of Buenos Aires main avenues, 9 de Julio, in protest of the Argentine government’s refusal to grant them with veteran benefits.
During the war, they were in charge of tasks related to defence and logistics in several Argentine air force bases.
They continue to demand official recognition as war veterans from the government, which would qualify them for veteran benefits according to Law 23.848.
During the protest, which did not interrupt traffic, they once more urged the government to listen to their claims.
The emblematic tower, located at the heart of Retiro, a huge open space in downtown Buenos Aires was renamed to “Monumental” after the 1982 conflict with the United Kingdom. The tower stands out in the former Plaza Britainica, now Plaza Fuerza Aerea (Air Force Plaza) in honour to the Argentine pilots during the Falklands conflict.
Retiro is also one of Buenos Aires main railway stations.
It was a gift from the local British community to the city in commemoration of the centennial of the May Revolution of 1810.
The tower is built in Palladian style; the building is decorated with symbols of the British Empire and features the thistle of Scotland, the English rose, the Welsh dragon and the Irish shamrock.
The tower reaches a height of 75.5 metres and has eight floors. There are clocks at the 35 m level, and the bells were designed in imitation of the ones at Westminster Abbey.
The tower is topped by an octagonal copper roofed cupola. Above the entrance there are the shields of Argentina and Great Britain and the inscription al gran pueblo argentino, los residentes británicos, salud, 25 de mayo 1810-1910 ('To the health of the Great Argentine people, from the British residents, May 25, 1810-1910'