"Ni una menos!" (“Not one less!”)
"Vivas nos queremos!" (“We want ourselves alive!”)
"Estado responsable!" (“The state is responsible!”)
These were some of the chants heard in the town of Moreno, Buenos Aires, where thousands gathered Saturday to protest the femicide of Micaela Garcia, who herself was an activist against sexist violence.
The 21-year-old Argentine had been missing for a week after she had attended a nightclub in nearby Gualeguay. Her naked body was found Saturday morning in a rural area with signs of having been strangled.
Her suspected killer, Sebastian Wagner, arrested the same day, is a serial rapist with previous charges of rape against him. While his original sentencing was to be imprisoned for those instances of rape until at least 2020, when he was convicted in 2010, a judge had reduced his sentence. As such, the target of the protests in Moreno was also Judge Carlos Rossi, who had been responsible for releasing Wagner early.
"Here are two people responsible: the murderer of Micaela and a judge who released him despite being advised against doing so,” said Fabiana Tuñez, the president of the National Women's Council.
Garcia, a university student, was involved with various social movements and championed the struggle against femicides of women in Argentina, her father told reporters.
"We are going to live to try to achieve a more just society, as Micaela intended. Pain has to serve us to change society," explained Nestor Garcia, the young woman's father.
A recent documentary by Alejandra Perdomo, titled "Every 30 Hours," found that gendered violence in Argentina kills one woman every 30 hours.
According to Casa del Encuentro, almost 3,000 women have been killed since 2008, when the organization started to monitor femicides. Despite the inclusion of "femicide" in the criminal code in 2012, only one man has been sentenced for femicide charges since then.
According to Pedromo, the anti-femicide movement “Ni Una Menos” made the issue more visible, resulting in a surge of complaints.
While Argentina has been a pioneer in implementing laws defending the rights of the LGBTI community over the past decade during the progressive administrations of Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Fernandez, the country only recently started to measure the extent of the femicide issue, after an accumulation of horrendous murders were covered in the media.
The movement against femicide saw a resurgence in Argentina last year, sparking a wider uprising across the region against gender violence and the systemic impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of femicide and domestic abuse.