Over 60,000 women have crowded Argentina's Chaco School of Commerce as part of the 32nd National Meeting of Women, ENM, protesting the detention of social and political leader Milagro Sala.
Thousands of women arriving for the three-day event rallied in defense of Milagro Sala during a press conference organized in response to the Indigenous leader’s recent and unexpected re-imprisonment.
"Milagro is in prison for being a woman, a poor woman and an Indigenous woman," said Majo Gerez, a member of the Social and Popular Front.
"And not only for that, but because she was a woman who dared to organize and organize thousands of people."
On Saturday, Sala was transferred from her home, where she had been placed under house arrest, back to prison.
Her defense attorney, Elizabeth Gomez, described the move as an "abduction" by the police against the lawmaker and activist. Sala claimed it was in retaliation for her demands after the disappearance of the young activist Santiago Maldonado.
"It was no accident that this happened on the eve of the meeting. We understand that it was not a transfer but a new illegal detention. The judge in charge did not even have jurisdiction to carry out the measure he took,” Gerez said.
Maria Elena Naddeo, a member of the Committee for the Freedom of Milagro Sala, said they had issued two appeals to the court since March in her defense, to no avail.
"If there is something that affects the lives of women, it is neoliberalism and the adjustment policies of governments like this, capable of holding a female fighter like Milagro," Gerez said.
"This illegal detention that we repudiate is a sign that we are not hearing any of the human rights organizations. Women are the most disadvantaged from these policies of a government that proposes to re-impose a colonial, racist and patriarchal regime. The women's movement must redouble its efforts to repudiate what Milagro is living."
This year's ENM was also dedicated to combatting the feminization of poverty and oppressive cultural stereotypes.
Sala’s case was not the only one to be mentioned during the three day convention, with advocates protesting the disappearance of Maldonado, who went missing on Aug. 1.