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Argentines march to trace protester

BUENOS AIRES

Thousands of people have marched through Argentina’s capital, demanding that a young protester, who has been missing since security forces clashed with indigenous activists in Patagonia 10 days ago, appear alive.

Human rights groups have demanded action this week to find Santiago Maldonado, a 28-year-old craftsman. They suspect he was taken by the country’s National Gendarmerie during an August 1 operation to end a land occupation in Chubut province by indigenous Mapuche.

“The state is the only one responsible for the disappearance of Santiago,” Taty Almeida, an activist with the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo rights group, said in a speech at the protest.

Security Minister Patricia Bullrich has said “there is no indication” that the security force captured Maldonado, or that he was even at the site of the occupation, given that the protesters covered their faces.

Maldonado’s family and witnesses have said he was at the site.

“There are searches in different places, without much help from that organisation, which espouses quite violent and undemocratic ideas,” President Mauricio Macri told a local radio station on Friday in reference to a group supporting land rights for indigenous Mapuche. “But we’re trying to see what happened.”

Reuters