Thursday, March 27, 2008
Recoleta Protest: Cristina's speech didn't calm things here.
Just returned from the protest here in the Recoleta tonight. It was much bigger than the night before. When talking with people in the crowd, it appears that Cristina didn't do anything to calm the emotions of the middle class here in the Recoleta. (OK...maybe some were well above middle class status.)
The cacerolazo started soon after Cristina's speech. People headed to their windows and balconies and started banging on pots and pans to announce the start.
People then started gathering on the street. I went up a block to the corner of Callao and Quitana where everyone from my neighborhood seemed to gather each night. There was a pretty good crowd, although not as big as the previous night.
When enough had gathered to block the road, everyone marched up to the corner of Santa Fe and Callao. This was the area where all of the groups from Barrio Norte would meet up before marching on to the Obelisco the other nights.
I left the crowd about 9:00 and headed home for dinner.
About 10:00 we heard a large bang of fireworks and the tin of the Cacerolazo approaching our apartment. I grabbed the camera and raced downstairs. I was surprised to see a very large march down Callao.
I guess the pro-government supporters had occupied the Obelisco and Plaza de Mayo all day. So the Cacerolazo decided to march through the streets tonight.
It was a great tactic. The group drew more and more participants as it marched down Callao. I followed the group of about 3,000 people. down Callao and onto Ave. Libertador. From Libertador, the crowd moved up Av. Pueyrredon and back up to Santa Fe.
All along the way the crowed grew bigger an bigger. And when they reached the intersection of Santa Fe and Callao again the crowd was easily 5,000. Later, they broke out in the national anthem before many left for home around 11:00. It was very moving.
The mood was more like being in a parade than a protest. There were families with small children, older couples, soccer mom types, and a large number of young adults. As we passed down the street, the balconies would fill with people banging pots or throwing confetti down on the crowd.
One thing is clear. The middle and upper classes do not like the Kirschners. They are tired of the bad government and the fact that they have no real congress to stand up for them. They feel the cacerolazo is the only way they can be heard.
I've got a ton of great video. It just takes forever to upload to YouTube. I'll post more as I get it uploaded. I promise.
I'll leave you with a moving video of the singing of the National Anthem: