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Voices of the 8-Nov Demonstration in Buenos Aires

I’ve kept asking about the protest which took place here in Buenos Aires on 8-Nov. It was the biggest demonstration to take place here since I arrived last February. Some have estimated that 700,000 people gathered on the streets in unison against the current government of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

From the dozen or so people I’ve asked about it this week, less than half of them participated. A middle-aged lady went along with friends and her early-twenties daughter armed with an empty water bottle filled with coins. Another participant was a young professional who wanted to demonstrate against constitutional reforms. They described the atmosphere as safe and warm. When I asked about the make-up of the crowd they replied that there were young families with children, elderly people and handicapped people. Not too many of the people I have talked to are against such demonstrations. One guy was a little nervous to go and ended up not going because of the possibility of the ultra-right wing being present. He didn’t want to be somewhere those type of people where.

Perhaps people reading this who do not live in Argentina don’t know much about the story. I don’t claim to understand it after living here for the last 9 months. Most people know about Peron, but his legacy and what he stood for are really difficult to understand. He’s idolized here by the much of the public and politicians alike, including the present president. President Cristina almost inherited the presidency from her late husband and former president, Nestor Kirchner – the richest president Argentina has ever had, I was once told. Her inheritance has resulted in one family governing the country for the last 9 years and many people are tired.

Since I’ve lived here I’ve heard some insane stories about this place. I don’t know how many times I’ve said “That would never happen in Europe”. If half the stories are true, I completely sympathize with the general public’s feelings of discontent. I hope more demonstrations are planned and the politicians take note. Many say the biggest problem here is that there’s no united opposition against the current government. Perhaps, further demos will inspire progress.

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