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  • Wandering around the streets of Buenos Aires to nowhere in particular, I ran into a large gathering of protesters that had taken over a few city blocks near the Congress building. I have stumbled upon so many various protests, marches, and road closures on a regular basis travelling through South America. Student protesters in Santiago, election rallies in Quito, truck driver strikes in Sucre, etc. I have no idea what this particular one was about, but judging by the banners it was something political. “Work Dignity and Social Change”, “Workers Organized for the Revolution”, “Popular Resistance”, “Front for Territorial Resistance”, nearly everyone had a banner or flag. People of all ages stood or sat around not really doing anything, prepared for a march that didn’t seem to be happening. Old ladies, families with very young kids, young men with bandanas covering their identity. A group of people gathered on one side of a block, surrounded, as if being hidden, by large black and red banners, discussing something I of course couldn’t understand, but assumed (based on my own personal experience in these things) they were trying to decide just what they were going to do. There was disagreement, but no disrespectful shouting. Everyone was calm, though there was clearly no agreement on anything. Just talking. One guy a block away was exhorting into a PA hooked up to a truck to not really anybody but a banner with his picture on it. Drums were being beaten here and there seemingly for something to do. Most of the people just sat on the street, finding a place in the sun. Eating, drinking mate, laughing with friends, playing with babies. With nothing better to do, I too found a spot of sun, sat down, and started writing stuff down.
  • It all seemed like a day in the park. The arms of the people holding the banners must have been getting tired, their legs wanting to sit with the others. Some of the banners were red, some black, some blue, half of them with the likeness of Che Guevara. A few feet away from me kids were eating corn on the cob. A siren started to blare, which made the drummers beat louder. But it was just a motorcycle cop slowly trying to inch down the street. Groups of men stood along the periphery in windblazers with AFP written on them, the Argentina Federal Police, but they didn’t seem armed in any way, and were just shooting the shit like everyone else. I wondered if anything was actually going to happen here, and then a group of people blocked my sunlight, and I was hungry, so I got up and left. I don’t think the revolution began today. But more power to them.
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