Anti-Semitic violence erupts in Buenos Aires

BUENOS AIRES (JTA) -- A violent anti-Semitic demonstration erupted in downtown Buenos Aires during a public celebration of Israel's 61st anniversary.

On late Sunday afternoon, shortly after Jewish families and their non-Jewish neighbors began Independence Day celebrations at a “Buenos Aires Celebrates” event, a group of about 20 people came out of a subway depot with anti-Semitic banners and signs and fighting broke out.

According to the organizers, a number of Jews were beaten and required medical attention, the French news agency AFP reported.

“In the middle of the cultural festival, the group attacked with complete impunity," Aldo Donzis, the DAIA Jewish local political umbrella institution president, told JTA. "Five police officers who were standing in a corner took a long time before acting. Two people from the public were hurt as well as a policeman. Many of the aggressors ran away, but five of them were caught by the policemen and others from the public who chased them.”

DAIA officials said the group will take legal action against the five aggressors.

“It was really a very violent act,” said Donzis.

The Israeli festival, held a block away from the central Plaza de Mayo, is part of a series of events "celebrating Buenos Aires' diversity and the pluralism that builds our identity,” Claudio Avruj, the head of the city’s Institutional Relations General Direction office, told JTA. A Greek festival was held in March and a Russian celebration is planned for June.

The demonstration lasted a few minutes and the celebration -- which included Israeli music, poetry, crafts and dance -- continued as scheduled.

“People stayed and redoubled the will to celebrate,” said Avruj.

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