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News > Uruguay

Uruguay: "The March of Silence" Challenges the Pandemic

  • The March of Silence celebrated its 25th anniversary amidst Covid regulations

    The March of Silence celebrated its 25th anniversary amidst Covid regulations | Photo: AFP/Eitan Abramovich

Published 20 May 2020

With several initiatives, the traditional commemoration took place in Montevideo

The March of Silence, one of the largest social gatherings in Uruguay, celebrated its 25th anniversary in an atypical way on Wednesday due to the social distancing measures decreed in the country.

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Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic regulations, the event, celebrated since 1996 to honor the memory of Zelmar Michelini, Héctor Gutiérrez Ruiz, Rosario Barredo, William Whitelaw, and Manuel Liberoff, murdered in Buenos Aires in 1976,  was developed mostly in social media. The March is also is dedicated to the memory of all those who died or disappeared during the 1973-1985 military dictatorship in Uruguay.

"This situation somehow enhanced the emotional closeness and redoubled the commitment of countless compatriots who, with their sensitivity, have managed to make May a month of memory," declared on Tuesday Alba González, one of the members of an organization called of Mothers and Relatives of Uruguayan Disappeared Prisoners.

Despite the quarantine, 18 de Julio Avenue, the most important of the capital, was isolated from Rivera y Jackson street to the Liberty Square, at the request of the March organizers. This way, a truck with a giant screen was able to circulate alone through the avenue, screening the names and pictures of all the disappeared prisoners. In some areas of the street, hundreds of footprints were painted on the floor, as part of artistic intervention.

One of the highlights of the day was the initiative called "Images of the Silence," in where several Uruguayan personalities photographed themself holding pictures of people who disappeared during the military dictatorship. These images were broadcast on social media and also placed in Cagancha Square, one of the city landmarks. Also, the organizers invited the people to hang daisies on their terraces, balconies, and windows. 

The March was also held overseas since in France, convened by the organization Where are they? a Virtual March of Silence was developed under the slogan "Everywhere, we are them."

Uruguay's Vice-President Beatriz Argimón, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ernesto Talvi, and Montevideo Mayor Christian Di Candia, among other political figures, wrote messages supporting the March from their social media accounts.

During the dictatorship in Uruguay, over 190 people were reported as disappeared.

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