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The Battle for Buenos Aires

by Nicolas Saturday, Dec. 22, 2001 at 8:27 AM

First hand account from the Plaza de Mayo, in English.

Comrades,

I have made it back from the battle. I am way to tired to write a complete report, but I will do so tomorrow when I get up.

I will however say that these was far beyond anything I have seen before (way beyond Quebec, Goteborg, Genova, etc.). We tried to fight our way to the Plaza de Mayo (where the presidential palace is). Hardest fighting I've ever seen. As the OSL said, it was step by step, meter by meter. Rocks against an unholy amount of gas, rubber bullets, tanks, water hoses, you name it. The cops on occassion ran out.

We carried forward our barricades all we could, we got to the corner of the Plaza. I truly thought we would take the presidential palace, and thus fought like it was truly the last battle. Unfortunately, we did not make it. But we fought for 7 hours straight, back and forth. Unbelievable intensity. Amongst the people fighting there was all sorts, from a couple thousand leftists (from our march, which was attacked after only 1 block), to young people who were simply pissed, old workers (people in their 50s and 60s with bandannas and rocks), people in suits and ties straight from work, *everyone*

Banks and multinationals were completely destroyed, and very many were completely set alight. Barricades of fire quite literally everywhere (hundreds). As we advanced we blocked every single side street in order to not be attacked from behind. Eventually the looting began, and it was unlike anything Ive ever seen. At one point all sorts of fancy candy was flying through the air (I was sitting across the street and it quite literally rained on me).

I am exhausted (this is actually my second straight day of battle, the first was less glorious, as it was for tickets to my soccer teams last game. We can win the championship with only a tie, we havent won in 35 years. 24 hours before the tickets went on sale there was 1o blocks of people waiting.

In the morning all hell broke loose, the stadium fences were toppled and it was a total stampede. People fainting from the pressure of so many people piled together, women crying, hardcore fans giving up saying they didnt want to die for a ticket. I was in there for one hour, almost fainting, my friends gave up, I was pushed against the wall, couldnt breathe, almost vomited, got dizzy, but finally got them and collapsed as soon as I got out. We take our soccer quite seriously, and this game, which because of this has been pushed back a week, is actually why I am currently in Argentina), and still in awe. I have a lot of comments to make, as well as a full report of what I saw, but it will be tomorrow.

For the record, 4 people died during the battle. This makes the death toll of the last 3/4 days 20 people.

Also, the president has resigned, there was once again massive looting today.

There are about 1200 people arrested. Rumors of 2 dead cops (I myself saw somebody run off with two police shirts).

I had taken pictures but at one point, as I was backtracking I walked straight into a barricade of fire! Naturally, this quickly burned my legs very badly. I have a fair amount of blisters and cuts (I must have jumped about two meters in the air, I thought my clothes were on fire). But it was there that I lost my camera (I think.)

Nicolas

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