Parque Indoamericano occupied by homeless migrants. Photo by Sorrel Moseley-Williams.
Violence flared last week in the Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Villa Soldati, where thousands of homeless migrants are squatting a public park. After police failed to forcibly evacuate their makeshift camp, unknown armed mobs began taking matters into their own hands…
Over 5,000 people, mostly migrants from neighbouring Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay, have set up camp in the Parque Indioamericano, a vast, grassy expanse in southern Buenos Aires. They swear they will not leave the small plots of land they have cordoned off and occupied unless authorities offer them a decent housing alternative.
Footage from inside the Parque Indoamericano, where squatters have cordonned off "their" plots of land and built makeshift tents. Video posted on YouTube by juianimassi on December 12.
Last Tuesday, two migrants were killed during the federal police's failed attempt to forcibly evict the occupants after several days of protests by furious residents. After the police pulled out, local armed gangs began attacking the camp at nightfall, killing one.
On December 10, Argentine televisions showed shocking footage of an injured youth from the park being pulled from an ambulance by an angry mob, to shouts of “Out with Bolivians! Go back to your country!” Although police have not confirmed the fatality, the Metropolitan Emergency Medical Service said the 19-year-old Bolivian was shot in the head.
The government sent militarized police to secure the park on Saturday, and a fragile status quo has held in Villa Soldati since then. But fresh violence broke out on December 14 after dozens of migrants tried to occupy plots of land in the nearby neighbourhoods of Lugano, Barracas and Bernal, signalling that the conflict between desperate migrants looking for a home and angry Buenos Aires residents is far from over.
Over 1000 militarized police (the coast guard and border guard) secured the park on December 11, blocking anyone from entering the park. Video posted on YouTube by hefestionsradio.