Yesterday authorities arrived at Parque Indoamericano, surrounding the park to protect the squatters within after five days of unrest in the area.

On Tuesday, December 7, police attempted to evict some 200 families from Parque Indoamericano in Villa Soldati (a neighborhood in the south of Buenos Aires) and at least two were killed. They refused to leave, demanding that the city do something to help them. Section 14bis of the Argentine constitution states that the government shall “grant…access to worthy housing,” and this is being cited in discussions about the situation.

Residents of nearby apartments who have seen villas grow up over the last 30 years are adamant that the squatters leave the park. For three nights running they have set fires on the highway and blocked traffic, rerouting drivers who would pass through the neighborhood. Things got volatile on Thursday after a hearing in which Judge Gallardo announced that the police would have no further involvement in displacing the squatters and that they would be provided with food, water, and chemical toilets.

Around 7:30PM on Friday, a large group of protesting residents rushed the park with sticks and rocks in hand. Shots were fired and one of the squatters was killed. At that time, there were no police in sight. Any vehicle in sight was attacked, including ambulances, police cars, and media trucks who all fled the scene before the murder occurred. We saw bloody youths on television held aloft on the shoulders of friends as they looked for help of any kind.

Shortly after this incident, residents fled to the corners of Dellepiane and Escalada where others had blocked the highway for the second night in a row, setting fires and preventing cars from entering. We saw several motorcycles and mopeds cross the barrier, but no other vehicles.

Saturday at around 5:00PM, authorities arrived. The Infantería (Federal Police), the prefectura (Coast Guard), and the gendarmería (National Guard) arrived to form a barrier around the park. Residents were gathered across the street in the traffic circle and continued protesting.

The authorities did not put a halt to the closing of the highway, the burning of tires, and they were not there when a dark skinned teenager was assaulted crossing under the overpass. Many neighbors are protesting the violence in addition to the overtaking of the park, but they are right beside the ones who would hit a defenseless teenager because of the color of his skin. Trucks of police and some on foot passed through the barrier last night and just kept right on going toward the park.

My boyfriend and I live in nearby Villa Lugano. We were told that last night after we’d gone back home, a truck attempted to pass the barricade with chemical toilets for the squatters and residents ripped one of the toilets off the truck and set it on fire. The truck turned and left.

These are some of the photos I’ve taken over the last couple days.

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 10, 2010, Civil unrest, protests, Buenos Aires

1.Dec. 10: Residents of nearby apartment complexes gather to block the highway and streets in protest of the lack of involvement by government and authorities. They want the squatters removed from the park. Less than two hours before, one of the squatters had been killed by a mob of residents who attacked the camp.

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 10, 2010, Civil unrest, protests

2.Fires are set in the highway and men hit the guard rail with metal rods in protest.

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 10, 2010, Civil unrest, protests, Buenos Aires

3.Branches from nearby trees fuel the fires on the highway.

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 10, 2010, Civil unrest, protests, Buenos Aires

4. Protesting residents prevent a car from leaving the area on Escalada Avenue.

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 10, 2010, Civil unrest, protests, Buenos Aires

5.Another group of protestors gathers at Castañares and Av. Escalada, forcing traffic back.

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 10, 2010, Civil unrest, protests, Buenos Aires

6. Protesters gather at the entrance to Parque Indoamericano (left), and at the intersection of Castañares and Escalada (right).

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 10, 2010, Civil unrest, protests, Buenos Aires

7. On the highway around 10:00PM, traffic is finally allowed to pass.

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 11, 2010, Civil unrest, protests, Buenos Aires

8. Dec. 11, The Prefectura (or Coast Guard) arrives in buses to secure the park.

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 11, 2010, Civil unrest, protests, Buenos Aires

9. Residents protest in the street in front of the park with signs. On the left, a sign directed to President Cristina Kirchner says, "Lugano and Soldati exist." The other on the right, directed to the president and cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez says the same thing.

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 11, 2010, Civil unrest, protests, Buenos Aires

10. The prefectura blocks the entrance to the park.

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 11, 2010, Civil unrest, protests, Buenos Aires

11.A view from the roof of a nearby apartment building in Barrio Nágera.

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 11, 2010, Civil unrest, protests, Buenos Aires

12. Three helicopters hover over the scene.

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 11, 2010, Civil unrest, protests, Buenos Aires

13. Protesting residents swarm the highway and nearby roads to block them for the third night in a row.

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 11, 2010, Civil unrest, protests, Buenos Aires

14. Protestors climb up to the highway.

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 11, 2010, Civil unrest, protests, Buenos Aires

15. Police pass through the residents' barricade on the way to the park.

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 11, 2010, Civil unrest, protests, Buenos Aires

16. Fires are set with tires on the highway. An ambulance passes the barricade.

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 11, 2010, Civil unrest, protests, Buenos Aires

17. Fires burn high.

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 11, 2010, Civil unrest, protests, Buenos Aires

18. A protestor holds a sign saying, "We are working citizens, not murderers."

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Villa Soldati / Villa Lugano, Dec 11, 2010, Civil unrest, protests, Buenos Aires

19. A protestor, left, holds a metal tray and spoon she has been banging to make noise. The sign on the center reads, "We are working citizens, not murderers." On the right, the sign says, "neighbors in peaceful protest."

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