In Argentina, a Roman Catholic mass -- held in memory of thousands of people reported to have disappeared in the country -- broke up in confusion on Sunday (10 December), when the officiating priest described some of the missing as 'drug addicts and guerrillas'.
GV INTERIOR PAN Wives and mothers of missing people attending church service in the San Francisco Basilica, Buenos Aires
MV Father Jacinto Neva addressing congregation
CU PULL BACK MV Crying women
MV PAN Women in congregation
GV EXTERIOR Women leaving church
MVs Women gathering outside church (2 SHOTS)
MV Woman weeping hysterically
MV PULL BACK TO GV procession of women around Plaza de Mayo, Buenos Aires
The wives and mothers later moved to the Plaza de Mayo, outside the Presidential Palace, where they paraded silently for half an hour. Police did not attempt to disperse the demonstrators.
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Background: In Argentina, a Roman Catholic mass -- held in memory of thousands of people reported to have disappeared in the country -- broke up in confusion on Sunday (10 December), when the officiating priest described some of the missing as 'drug addicts and guerrillas'. Hundreds of relatives, who attended the service in Buenos Aires, walked out in protest at the priest's remarks.
SYNOPSIS: The mass, which had been arranged by five human rights organisations, marked the second anniversary of the kidnapping of two French nuns -- eight months after the military coup of March, 1976.
The "Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo", as the women call themselves, were visibly shaken when Father Jacinto Neva said that some of the missing were drug addicts and guerrillas. More than a thousand people had turned up for the mass. Many of them said they were the wives and mothers of people abducted by armed groups. But the Argentine government says it has no knowledge of any of the people having been detained.
About seven hundred churchgoers streamed out of San Francisco Basilica in protest. Eyewitnesses said that when he priest made his remarks, women in the congregation shouted that their children were not drug addicts, and left the service without taking Communion.
One of the groups who helped organise the mass distributed a list of 189 names of people it claims have disappeared this year. It also alleges that as many as three thousand five hundred people have disappeared in Argentina in Recent years. This figure is confirmed by Amnesty International.