Uruguay: mass march against militarization

Montevideo protest

Some 60,000 marched in Montevideo Oct. 22 against the “Vivir sin Miedo” (Live Without Fear) campaign, an anti-crime initiative that will go before the voters in this week’s national elections in Uruguay. The referendum, being pushed by¬†Sen.¬†Jorge Larra√Īaga of the right-wing¬†National Party, would create a new military police force, the National Guard;¬†allow security forces to carry out night raids;¬†and¬†impose mandatory life terms for serious crimes. The group¬†Madres y Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos, made up of survivors¬†of those “disappeared” during the years of military rule in Uruguay, issued a statement warning that approval of the initiative could be a step back toward dictatorship.

Incumbent President Tabar√© V√°zquez of the leftist¬†Broad Front¬†is barred by term limits from re-election, and his party’s candidate, former Montevideo mayor¬†Daniel Mart√≠nez, is facing a tough challenge from the National Party’s¬†Luis Lacalle Pou, with polls anticipating a second round. The Broad Front is a coalition of leftist movements that in 2005 broke the long duopoly of the National and Colorado parties, both formations of the right. Crime and insecurity have¬†emerged as key issues in the race. (MercoPress, Nodal, BBC News, France24, La Izquierda Diario,¬†El Pais, Uruguay)

Photo: La Izquierda Diario