Masked feminist protesters clash with man ‘defending’ Catholic cathedral in Buenos Aires (VIDEOS)
Masked feminist protesters threw bottles and stones at the Catedral Metropolitana de Buenos Aires on Wednesday night. Chants against the church and Argentinian President Mauricio Macri rang out on Plaza Mayo as protesters attacked a large fence that was erected to protect the building by setting it alight with small bonfires.
The protest spiraled into violence when a man carrying a Vatican City flag stood in front of the cathedral. Several of the feminists tried to snatch the flag and hit out at the man before a group escorted him away.
The video was shared on a Facebook group called LGBTears. “This is a friend of ours. We met him years ago, and we know that he didn't hit anyone or incite violence,” the post accompanying the video said. “He went to defend the cathedral so that it was not vandalized. There are a lot of people saying he was smacking the participants of the March, but he didn't touch anyone.”
Women´s Day at Plaza de Mayo. Here, about 1 woman each 24hs is killed by a macho man (femicide). pic.twitter.com/EdHv9V8TSZ— anaorsatti (@AnaOrsatti) March 9, 2017
Police later used rubber bullets and water cannon to disperse the crowd. La Nacion reports that 30 people were arrested. Videos from the scene show police dragging away women who were taking part in the demonstration.
The cathedral emerged from the night of protest largely unscathed as the protective fence proved effective in saving it from the feminist’s missiles.
Mientras tanto en la Catedral, tiros de goma y fuego pic.twitter.com/INQuUfMKk6— Brenda Struminger (@Brenstrum) March 9, 2017
Enormous crowds gathered in Plaza Mayo as part of International Women’s Day. The Catedral Metropolitana was also the scene of demonstrations earlier in the day, with Pura Ciudad reporting that the left wing MST (Workers' Socialist Movement) party staged a gathering where they dressed as witches, complete with pointy hats, brooms and a steaming cauldron, to demand the separation of church and state.
“While priests and their schools receive more than 26,000 million pesos per year, the supposed national plan against gender violence, the government allocates 270 times less: barely 96 million,” MST politician Vilma Ripoll said.
Churches are regularly the target of feminist demonstrations in Argentina as they are blamed for preventing greater access to abortion. Wednesday night’s events echo similar incidents on previous International Women's Days in Buenos Aries.