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Day of Action Against the Criminalization of Protest

On Wednesday, multiple actions took place around the country calling for the release of long-time social movement referent Milagro Sala, as well as an end to the criminalization of protest, anti-terrorist laws and repressive legislation.

Tre Kwon

January 28, 2016
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Photo: Okhee Kwon, Left Voice

On January 16, leader of the Kirchnerist Tupac Amaru organization Milagro Sala was arrested in San Salvador de Jujuy. She was charged with “inciting crimes” and “public disturbance” for organizing a 30+ day encampment at the provincial government headquarters to protest the policies of right-wing Jujuy Governor Gerardo Morales, close ally of president-elect Mauricio Macri.

In the days that followed, actions took place in every major city to repudiate Sala’s arrest, stirring some opposition by those who pointed out rumors of corruption and improper handling of public monies meant for social programs for the poor.

Milagro Sala’s iconic status and rocketing career find their origins in resistance movements that emerged during the 2001 crisis. Belonging to a sector of major activists and movement figures who were eventually co-opted, for a long time Sala acted in harmony with Kirchnerism and its “progressive,” post-neoliberal logic, at the helm of a massive social service organization that posed no threats or challenge to the reconfigured capitalism under the ruling government.

Despite the controversy, a broad range of organizations moved to organize against Sala’s detainment, concluding that her imprisonment was really a move by reactionary forces to shut down the encampment and suppress protest against austerity policies and repressive measures.

The Encuentro Memoria, Verdad, y Justicia coalition, together with a broad range of organizations, called for a day of united action that took place yesterday with the notable presence of left and human rights organizations. In contrast, Kirchnerist groups saw a low turnout. The demonstrations not only denounced the Sala’s targeted arrest, but also called for the revocation of the anti-terrorist law passed by the Kirchnerist government and a halt to the current legislative push to cut down the right to protest.

Video and images from yesterday’s march in the city of Buenos Aires:

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Tre Kwon

Tre is a writer and editor for Left Voice. She is a nurse and member of NYSNA.

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