Doth Protest Too Much

My general impression of Argentinians is that they love a good demonstration. It could be that Buenos Aires, like any capital city, gets more than its share of them. I might have been there at just the height of protest season. Whatever the case, it struck me how little impact these affairs seem to make; the locals treat the protests with utter detachment. I witnessed men in fine suits going about their business or talking on cell phones while chants and fireworks roared from a square less than a block away. Surely some of the causes behind these gatherings are worthy; it’s just that the people whose minds they may seek to change are suffering from acute protest fatigue.

These people would unfurl their banner at red lights, then politely roll it up and return to the sidewalk before the light turned green again.

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At the Plaza de Mayo, demonstrations were a daily occurrence. I staked out a spot on the edge of the largest one I saw one afternoon.

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One thing I noticed with some dismay is the ethnic divide between protesters and the average Porteño (a Buenos Aires resident), the protesters being overwhelmingly indian or native, while the Porteños were largely of European descent. It goes to show that racial tensions are, unfortunately, global.

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