Latin America & Caribbean

Argentina Plaza de Mayo: Arrest stand-off ends

Hebe de Bonafini during a demonstration in Buenos Aires, 4 August 2016 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Hebe de Bonafini was arrested many times under Argentina's military government

An elderly Argentine human rights campaigner who was repeatedly arrested during the Dirty War has agreed to give evidence in a fraud inquiry after a stand-off with police.

Hebe de Bonafini , 87, leader of The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, had faced arrest for refusing to testify.

She had argued that the investigation was politically motivated and had failed twice to appear in court.

On Thursday she dodged arresting officers by boarding a mini-van.

She was supported by hundreds of demonstrators. The arrest order against Mrs Bonafini, who is not accused herself, has been lifted.

The Mothers became a close ally of the former left-wing President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, whose term ended in December.

In recent years, the Mothers had said they wanted to do some of the work they believed their children would have ended up doing if they were alive.

They launched a $53m (£40m) programme to build housing, schools and health centres in low-income neighbourhoods.

It was abruptly halted in 2011. Prosecutors are investigating the diversion of millions of dollars from the project.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Hundreds of supporters in the Plaza de Mayo followed the van carrying Hebe de Bonafini after a judge ordered her arrest

The square in front of the presidential palace is the site where the Mothers and their sister group, the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, have marched in protest every Thursday since 1977.

The groups fight for justice for victims of the 1976-83 military regime in Argentina.

Human rights groups say about 30,000 people were killed, two of Mrs Bonafini's three children among them.

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