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Argentina: 35th Anniversary of Mothers of Plaza de Mayo

Posted: Apr 30, 2012


On Thursday, April 30, 1977, a small group of women met in the Plaza de Mayo of Buenos Aires, Argentina with the aim of handing over a letter to then-president Jorge Videla, appealing for information about the whereabouts of their children, who were detained and "disappeared" by the military regime. At that time, unauthorized public gatherings of more than three people had been forbidden, so the police moved in to break them up. The women started to move around the square in a circle, linking arms in pairs - there was no ban on just walking in twos. And so one of Argentina's, and indeed the world's, most influential human rights groups was born.

Fast forward 35 years, and the Madres have endured humiliation, persecution, and a split within their own organisation. They have also been honoured internationally, travelled all over the world, assisted relatives' groups in other countries and finally been acccepted by their own country's establishment. Some have died, while others have been able to witness the generals on trial for their crimes. But the remaining mothers whose health permits it still gather in the square every Thursday.

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