2016-10-24

My First Protest: An Unforgettable Buenos Aires Experience

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No matter how short your visit to the Argentine capital, there’s no escaping the mass gatherings of people in the streets dancing, drumming and cheering to demand change. On Wednesday the 19th of October I joined the people of Buenos Aires for my first ever protest, supporting an extremely important cause- ‘Ni Una Menos’, and it was huge.

‘Ni Una Menos’ is a campaign against domestic violence, violence towards women and femicides, meaning ‘not one less’- not one more woman lost to ‘machismo’. In Argentina a woman is killed approximately every 30 hours and domestic violence is a huge problem causing growing anger among the population. This increasing fury peaked recently when news emerged of the violent murder of a 16-year-old girl, and tens of thousands of people took to the streets to open people’s eyes to the horrific truth of what is happening, to cry out enough is enough.

The march began at the Obelisk on a main street of the capital city and huge crowds gathered with drums, whistles and microphones- all dressed in black. The rain and cold temperatures didn’t prevent the sea of umbrellas from chanting, singing and dancing as we waited for the protest to begin its march to Plaza de Mayo.

In every direction, you could see giant banners of all colors with powerful and emotive phrases. Some of the slogans that impacted me the most can be translated as:
“Excuse the disturbance, we are being killed”
“On my walk home I want to be free, not brave”
“Touch one woman, we all respond”
“I march today so that tomorrow you won’t be marching for me”
“We want them alive”

The march lasted for a few hours, and despite being very cold and wet, I couldn’t help but feel completely overwhelmed with emotion. The drums, the chanting and the power that came from the thousands of people passionate for justice and change was almost surreal. The Argentine people truly know how to join together, make themselves heard and yell out for equality. A march in Buenos Aires, especially one for such a vital cause as ‘Ni Una Menos’, is an incredible thing to feel part of and I urge everyone to take the time to stand up for a cause that is important to them and support those in need.

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