The Day We Overthrew a President
This is a first hand account from the streets of Buenos Aires of the people's uprising that overthrew President Fernando De la Rua today. I got it from Argentina Indymedia and translated it (with a lot of help from the Babelfish).
The Day We Overthrew a President|
by IMC Flying picket team 6:41pm
Thu DEC 20 ' 01 8:09pm
December 20 - reporting from the streets of Buenos Aires.
The night already took control of everything, and the shouts and shots that occationally drift in on the wind are muffled by each drop of rain. Today will go down in history as the first time that the Argentine masses overthrew a president who took power by means of the ballot box. What began as a wave of seizing food by the hungry people and evolved, after the declaration of a state of siege, into a spontaneous rising of the middle-class and workers from many sectors of the economy, finally overwhelmed the government.
Throughout today there were confrontations in the center of the Federal Capitol, and in Mar del Plata, Cordova, Rio Negro, Neuqu?n, Chubut and Mendoza, according to the latest information.
Just after noon, a march lead by las Madres de Plaza de Mayo [an association of mothers of people who were disappeared by the government during the "dirty war" of the 70s and 80s] tried to enter a plaza where a spontaneous demonstration battled the police. Despite the danger, from rubber bullets, the water cannon of armored cars, and the mounted police, hundreds of people arrived to joined the protest. From the tops of buildings people rained all typs of projectiles down on the police. The demonstrators advanced, threw paving-stones, and retreated to regroup.
In the corridors of the power, it was said, De la Rua was about to to resign, but the police continued to unload on everyone. Some were calling for a coalition government with the opposition Peronist Party. But we didn't even want to hear about it.
There were thousands of us, and so we pushed on towards the Obelisk [a prominent monument in Buenos Aires]. Again we hurled ourselves against the front of the mounted police, advanced, and retreated. Hundreds of young people in the front line were repelled with tear gas, rubber bullets, and batons only to regroup and once again press forward.
Bonfires helped a bit to disperse the gas, and the high-street businesses, the corporations- sacrificed their furniture so that the street fires could continue to burn.
The death toll has risen to five, all shot to death, murdered by the police. Dramatic scenes play out when the ambulances take away the bodies. The fighting is fiercer still, our indignation spurs us on. Nobody will forget them, nobody is going to allow their deaths to be in vain. Some cry, but people continue to, and continue to battle.
We advanced, we retreated, we reorganized ourselves. Barricades are built in several intersections to hold off the police. We detour through some back allies, but soon we return to the Diagonal Norte. The police retreated briefly in cars and on horseback. Then we arrived at the Oblelisk, and the combat continued there.
There we were, breathing the gas, shouting that we are not going to go away, that if anyone goes away it will be De la Rua. Then I hit upon the idea to sing "los hijos del cordobazo." And in our thousands, we did. The rowers cover the faces, single to hold gases, and any she invites a lemon or a drink to you of auga.
The polce stood opposite us. When people advanced, they backed down, and soon they were envelloped in their own gas. Of a travel agency, of a McDonald's and a consumer electronics store nothing is left.
Soon, amidst the gas and barricades, the news arrived: De la Rua has fallen. We exploded with joy! People leap and sing. Some embrace. But the police remain opposite and somebody came to warn us that a group of 300 demonstrators were still trapped in the Plaza de Mayo. They were sitting on the pavement, singing a hymn. People continued to advance and, as throughout the day, the horse cops appeared, but we had ours: scores of mailmen in trucks and on bicycles arrived, revved their engines and advanced on the police. Some held Argentine flags. We don't know why, but all we advanced when we heard them come. Then we were a little better organized. The police throws; everybody stood and some advanced for devolverselos.
We came upon a patrol at the 9 of Julio. We held. We back down a little. Then, no one gave an order to do so, as it was throughout the day, people charged the cops twice more and then began to walk to the right towards the Congress building.
And we continued walking, and in some corners people hoisted one another into trees to cut transit lines, of which now only are left strings.
The scene of people applauding us from their balconies is repeated everywhere. We continued, up ahead before the Congress building we could see barricades, and people in the streets. Our celebration was repeated, and the festivities were multiplied by the number of streets in the city.
We took a step forward in the twisted labyrinth of history.
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