Thousands of Argentines turned out to the streets of Buenos Aires while the two houses of Congress held a special joint session on Saturday to remember the victims of the last military dictatorship on the anniversary of the beginning of the seven year long military coup that took place 36 years ago.
The occasion which the Argentine calendar commemorates as the National Day of Memory, had human rights groups carry out a march to Buenos Aires emblematic Plaza de Mayo to remember and to call for justice for their loved ones who were disappeared during the military dictatorship from 1976-1983.
From the doors of the Government House (Casa Rosada) to the front of the Congress building and along many blocks on 9 de Julio Avenue and Avenida de Mayo, people were out in their thousands to see and participate in the different memorial ceremonies dedicated to the victims of state repression.
Flags and banners citing “justice” and “truth” mixed together in the square alongside a long 600-metre banner with large images of the disappeared, calling for those responsible for crimes against humanity to finally be brought to justice.
However the occasion was also favourable for some politics and towards 7 pm the groups began to move into the central and historic square, accompanied by the movement that Social Development Minister Alicia Kirchner runs, Kolina, Evita Movement, Nunca Menos group together with the original Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Línea Fundadora, Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo and HIJOS.
Furthermore between tens of groups present, La Cámpora which is led by Cristina Fernandez son, Maximo Kirchner, by far had the most number of supporters with the total group taking up four whole blocks of Avenida de Mayo.
President Cristina Fernández remembered the victims of the dictatorship and recognized the work being done by human rights groups using two messages from her late husband and former president Néstor Kirchner.
Through social network Twitter, Cristina Fernandez transmitted the messages that her husband had delivered on the March 24 commemorations in 2004 and 2006 and did so “in memory of the victims of the dictatorship, and recognising the Human Rights organisations who constructed the cultural concept of Memory, Truth and Justice and kept it alive, and in memory of the President who made it possible”.
Likewise the Upper and Lower Houses of Congress held a joint special session with lawmakers paid homage to the court members who led the trial against the military junta, during the first democratically elected government that took office in 1983.
The ceremony was led by Vice-President Amado Boudou. According to human rights groups 30.000 people were kidnapped and murdered between 1976 and 1983, in the worst military dictatorship in Argentina's history, led by former General Jorge Rafael Videla.
Former judges León Arslanian, Ricardo Gil Lavedra-current Radical Party lawmaker, Jorge Torlasco, Jorge Valerga Aráoz, Guillermo Ledesma, the late Andrés D’Alessio and prosecutor Julio César Strassera, among others, were paid homage by lawmakers.
As President Cristina Fernández opted to spend the weekend in her private residence in Río Gallegos, Santa Cruz province, the Vice-president led the commemoration of the bloody coup which lasted seven years and systematically violated human rights.