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News > Latin America

Argentine Police Who Detained Protesters at Santiago Maldonado March Under Investigation

  • Argentine police arrest a protester during a march in Buenos Aires demanding the appearance of Santiago Maldonado.

    Argentine police arrest a protester during a march in Buenos Aires demanding the appearance of Santiago Maldonado. | Photo: EFE

Published 5 September 2017

Organizations denounced illegal arrests by police during a march to demand the appearance of Santiago Maldonado.

Police officers in Argentina who detained 31 people during a march against the disappearance of Santiago Maldonado last Friday in Buenos Aires are now under investigation.

Argentina Police Detains Protesters in Santiago Maldonado Rally

The country's Attorney General Office ordered them to testify after arresting dozens — including journalists, teachers and lawyers — at the city's historic Plaza de Mayo. They are being asked to explain the circumstances and reasons for their arrests.

Maria del Carmen Verdu of the Coordination Against Police and Institutional Repression said there were no logical reasons to detain the protesters. She said that the real purpose was "to cover up the provocation that was carried out to distort the enormous mobilization for the appearance of Santiago Maldonado."

"The judge himself has acknowledged that he has no elements to support the detention," Verdu added.

Verdu also said there were large inconsistencies with arrest records.

Prosecutor Ramiro Gonzalez has since ordered security footage from local businesses and news footage from television channels to be collected.

It is not good to look the other way when these things happen in your country. Where is Santiago Maldonado?

The police officers will need to provide a compiled 24-hour video of footage from the event. They will also be reviewed by doctors in order to establish what type of injuries they suffered and their degrees of severity.

Family Says Santiago Forcibly Disappeared by Argentine State

Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said she called for authorities to investigate and clear the incidents to determine which officers "gassed, beat and arrested people" while masked and infiltrated in the march.

"On this occasion, civilian policemen disguised as demonstrators put on a vest and started a hunt for people and journalists," Kirchner said.

She posted a video of the clash on Friday, saying that images like this, of police repression, had not been seen in Argentina for decades.

Only 30 of the 31 detainees were released and one person was held, as police said they couldn't determine their nationality. They waited for hours to be investigated for alleged crimes of "public intimidation, attack and resistance to authority."

Argentine activist Santiago Maldonado disappeared on August 1 during a police raid.

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