AMERICA/ARGENTINA - Call for dialogue by the Church after the violent demonstrations in Formosa against the return to lockdown in the fight against Covid-19

Monday, 8 March 2021 coronavirus   local churches  


Formosa (Agenzia Fides) - Tension and violence continue in Formosa, both in the city and in this Argentine province on the border with Paraguay after provincial authorities ordered a total lockdown as part of the fight against the pandemic, practically returning to phase one. The population has taken to the streets in massive numbers to demonstrate against the measure as they need to work and save the local economy, already in serious danger. The governor of Formosa, Gildo Insfran, called for the intervention of the police who, according to witnesses, used a disproportionate use of force by arresting demonstrators, to the point of involving many institutions.
The Bishops' Conference of Argentina, through its Executive Committee, sent a letter to His Exc. Bishop José Vicente Conejero Gallego, Bishop of Formosa, in order to express his solidarity with the local population and to reaffirm freedom of expression despite the pandemic. The Bishops believe that "it is necessary to adopt all necessary health measures to combat Covid-19, in a reasonable manner and in the context of its circulation, but in no way can any form of violent repression against citizens be exercised".
"Surely there will be ways for the Church, together with other sectors of society, to promote dialogue and social friendship that will definitively remove all forms of personal or institutional arrogance, typical of other tragic times in our country", say the Bishops in the text of the letter, sent to Fides.
After the violence, the Minister of National Security, Sabina Frederic, condemned the repression perpetrated by the police, calling it inadmissible. At the same time, the Minister reported cases of "systematic provocation" against the authorities. Argentine President Alberto Fernández said on March 6 that he was concerned about the police crackdown on protesters in the province of Formosa, who refused to return to the harshest phase of the lockdown due to the pandemic, given the need to continue to work. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 8/3/2021)