The Plaza de Mayo — emblematic spot where Argentina’s May Revolution effectively began — was fenced off today as a “safety measure” in light of today’s May 25th festivities. Many Argentines were less than pleased by the restriction, which sought to prevent protestors from taking over the plaza, law enforcement alleged.
“The President must be safe, we’re watching out for his safety. We want peace, we don’t want violence,” Security Minister Patricia Bullrich told press. “We’re closing off the Plaza de Mayo because some people don’t want the Te Deum to take place.”
Today’s Te Deum is the official ceremony commemorating the nation’s first step toward independence. It’s marked by a mass held at the Metropolitan Cathedral opposite the Casa Rosada, within which space lies the Plaza.
— CasaRosada 2003-2015 (@CasaRosadaAR) May 25, 2016
(The above tweet was provided by the Casa Rosada Twitter account — not the institutional government account, but the one that was effectively hijacked by the former Kirchner administration after former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner refused to hand over the account’s credentials to the new administration. The sad, empty shots are evidence of the pictures’ authorship.)
Some 200 people were permitted inside the fenced-off area: principally, students from three dance schools there to perform traditional dances as well as churro and hot chocolate vendors (undoubtedly a tad disappointed to not have more potential customers to sell their goods to. Hopefully they were nimble enough to climb over the fence in order to ply their trade on the other side.)
Police and law enforcement officials provided additional back-up to make sure the area was kept clear.
Perfil reported that the “most extreme” complaints regarding the fence saw people recall the last military dictatorship. “It’s horrible to see everything fenced off. You didn’t even see this during the dictatorship,” one individual said.
Others said they understood that safety was a concern in light of a cooperative having camped out near the Plaza the night before to reserve prime angry-fist-shaking spots for today. Earlier today, Bullrich announced that six individuals had been arrested for allegedly carrying molotov cocktails to the Plaza de Mayo.
- Read more: Feriado Fun Facts: The May Revolution