Parkland students take on Washington and gun rights
As far away as Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Parkland students and the March for Our Lives had a presence.
About 30 protesters, most of them Americans or Argentinians with family in the U.S., marched from the U.S. Embassy on Avenida Sarmiento to the ambassador’s residence Saturday morning. They carried handmade signs and chanted: “No justice. No peace” and “NRA, time to own up. The guns have changed. The laws have not.”
The march was organized by Mehrnoosh Arrar, 29, a former Florida resident now living in Buenos Aires, where she is a natural sciences researcher at the University of Buenos Aires. Her sister is a 2014 graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Attending the Buenos Aires march was Stoneman Douglas freshman Luciana Yanez, who was in Buenos Aires visiting her dad.
“I bought the ticket over winter break, before I knew any of this would happen of course,” she said. “I was devastated that I wouldn’t be able to go to Washington, but, thankfully, I found out there would be an event here.”
After organizing the March for Our Lives, Arrar attended a second march to commemorate the victims of the Dirty War in which an estimated 30,000 people disappeared from 1974 to 1983, during the reign of the military dictatorship. The Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice is held every March 24 in Argentina.
“I think it’s a good thing these marches are on the same day,” Arrar said Saturday. “The annual march here is always a time to be thankful for our freedom, be conscious of what it costs, and be aware of the tiny political moves that may sway things back in the direction of what led to the military coup here in Argentina. Everyone is very vocal, and I think channeling all that into our March For Our Lives was important.”
Yanez, who lived for a year in Pilar, Argentina in 2014, recalled the horrifying moment when she heard alarms go off Feb. 14 while she was in Spanish class. As she and her classmates walked down the stairs, a school administrator pushed them back up the stairs, telling them to run back into their classrooms. She and a few others found a teacher to let them into a classroom, where an administrator was already there with a radio.
She recalled the eerie feeling of hiding from the gunman as they heard the school staff communicating with each other through via radio.
“They were trying to find the shooter but there was a delay in the cameras so they really didn’t know where he was,” Yanez said. “They were trying to find his file, too, in the office, but they couldn’t find anything.” She finally left the building at 6 p.m.