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Madres de la Plaza de Mayo

Stella Grenat

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place South America » Argentina

Period 2000 - present
1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics human rights, justice, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00953.x


The Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (Mothers of the May Square) is one of the principal human rights organizations created during Argentina's long years under military dictatorship, which began in 1976. Thousands of people “disappeared” during those years, leaving mothers of the disappeared to wander through the corridors of the Department of Justice, police departments, and churches in search of their children. On April 30, 1977, 14 mothers who had searched in vain for their children or for information concerning their children's whereabouts gathered in the square, located in front of the government house in Buenos Aires, to wait for the highest authority of state, Lieutenant General Jorge Rafael Videla. This action, initiated by Azucena Villaflor, was an attempt to hold the government responsible for their children's disappearances. At the time of this first march, the country was under a state of siege, and gatherings of three or more people had been banned. The police who patrolled the square ordered the mothers to keep walking and to do so in pairs. This is how the Madres started their walks around the pyramid in the center of the Plaza de Mayo, the first action of its kind. The Madres took on a historically important role in their efforts to rescue or locate their children, who had resisted the regime between 1969 and 1976. In order to recognize one another, the Madres wore white ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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