More than 1,500 people protested in Buenos Aires on Thursday, calling for the government to prevent the eviction of land occupied by poverty-stricken families and homeless individuals.
The protest, which ran from the capital's famed Obelisk to the Plaza de Mayo, in front of the Casa Rosada, was organised to draw attention to those living on the breadline amid the coronavirus crisis.
Last week, the La Plata Court of Appeals ordered the clearance and eviction of some 2,500 families from an illegal encampment in Guernica, Buenos Aires Province. The land seizure, which began on July 20, has drawn considerable attention, with experts subsequently expressing concern for the camp’s struggling occupants and the potential spread of Covid-19 among them.
"We are seeing the struggles that thousands of families are carrying out for the right to decent housing," said Cele Fierro, leader of the left-wing Socialist Workers Movement, told AFP.
Activists from a host of social organisations, leftist parties and unions – most of whom who wore masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19 – were in attendance, while others formed a caravans of cars and honked their horns.
"No to evictions," cried the protesters, who called on the the authorities not to displace the families at Guernica, who settled without permission on disused land, as well as those living in poverty in other areas across Argentina.
Authorities plan to begin the eviction of the Guernica encampment on September 23, according to reports. The squatters, who took over unused land in the partido of Presidente Perón, are living in tents and huts over a space of around 100 hectares, divided into two parts. Around a thousand people originally settled. Around 2,500 families, including young children, are believed to be living on the site at present.
"We want wage increases, layoffs to be prohibited and that the [wealth] tax on large businessmen and multinationals be approved [in Congress]," said left-wing communal legislator Juan Carlos Giordano, as protesters waved flags and signs behind him.