Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou faced protesters during Wednesday's Independence Day celebrations and even engaged in talks with them amid verbal aggressions.
Nevertheless and despite their differences, all attendants sang the national anthem in a most civilized manner, not “taking the knee” or making verbal outbursts of any sort, which eventually surfaced afterwards, when the human fence of police officers separating protesters from officials in Piedra Alta, Florida, relaxed.
Shouts, insults, honks and complaints emerged from various groups on one side and applause and messages of support to the President came from the other, although the opposition voices were louder, according to local press reports.
It was the first time since taking office that Lacalle Pou was able to hold a large-scale celebration, due to pandemic restrictions.
Protesters called Lacalle a “traitor,” a “genocide,” a “delinquent” and a “thief” among other names.
Opposition Broad Front politician and leader of the State's workers COFE union Martin Pereira yelled at Lacalle: “Not with children. Children are off-limits!,” said Pereira regarding COVID-19 vaccination of children.
Wearing a shirt with a No to the new world order another demonstrator added: What kills is the vaccine!, while yet another protester called the President a Pimp of Freemasonry! As Lacalle tried to dialogue, which was impossible amid loud shouting, all the President heard was “Show the secret contracts you signed. Traitor. Rat!”
In the end, all Lacalle could do was tell Pereira that although he had been respectful others within his unionist party were not.
Also joining the protests and a few meters from the unionists was activist and former presidential candidate Gustavo Salle, who insisted through a portable loudspeaker: “Do not mess with the children.
Salle argued that even the decision of French football club Paris Saint-Germain to give the number 30 jersey to Argentine star Lionel Messi had been at the request of the Masonic gang of the Forum of Davos” and that it implied proof that “Chinese communism is coming by 2030.”
Florida Mayor Guillermo López said in his speech that Uruguayans have to be united, without shouting or megaphones.
At the exit, Lacalle Pou tried again to speak to the anti-vaccine groups but eventually gave up. Before getting into his car, he was approached by women who asked him not to vaccinate their children.
Salle did get to say a few words to Lacalle: We agree that people's freedom should be respected. he told the President. “And fight so that children are not vaccinated. You know that these vaccines come from Bill Gates, the paedophile. You know it well, you are not going to say it but you know it. You have to defend freedom and dignity!” Salle pointed out.
After the celebration, Lacalle addressed the upcoming tourist season. He said he hoped it would be a good one after a year and a half of pandemic restrictions.