BUENOS AIRES – Thousands of Argentine teachers and students marched from Congress to the presidential palace to mark the anniversary of student deaths in the 1970s and press demands for improved conditions in public schools.
Thursday’s demonstration was held on the 34th anniversary of the “Night of the Pencils,” when students in Buenos Aires province who were demanding free public transportation and other benefits were kidnapped and killed during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship.
This year’s commemoration of those killings came amid heightened tension in the educational sector, with high school students having occupied public schools in the city for the past three weeks to demand infrastructure improvements and teachers on Wednesday announcing a two-day strike to demand better pay and show their support for the students.
Some 30 high schools in the Argentine capital have been taken over by students demanding that buildings be maintained and repaired.
During Thursday’s march, a group of students burned Buenos Aires’ conservative mayor, Mauricio Macri, in effigy and drew graffiti criticizing him on the city hall building, which was also bombarded with eggs.
Macri says the student protest is merely political and warned teachers that their strike was unjustified and that they would have their pay docked for missed days. EFE