“Is this picture for a positive memory?”
A middle-aged man spoke to us while we were photographing a protest in the streets of Córdoba. We stumbled across the protesters on Avenida Colón while on our way to the Jesuit Crypt.
We saw waving flags, spray-painted slogans, burning rubbish bins, and the face of Che Guevara. ‘Kill Neoliberalism’ read one of the hand-painted signs. A topless, slightly overweight guy kept shouting a chant encouraging the others to join in. The song never lasted very long. Little clusters of people stood talking to each other and laughed while smoke from a burning pile of rubbish wafted over them. Three old guys smoked together by a skip on wheels, skinny shoulders and bare chests on display, looking serious and motioning with their arms at the wider group.
The majority of the protesters were young, but there was nothing to make them stand out amongst any other group of youth in the city. There were some older people too, like the smoking men and a couple of fat, flushed women on the outskirt of the flag-wavers. After about ten minutes they began dispersing. Che Guevara and the blue and white stripes of Argentina headed off in one direction. The red flags stayed, waving a little less than before. We didn’t see any police. There seemed to be more onlookers than participators.
“We’re tourists”, we told the guy who questioned us. He seemed not to like the protesters.
“This is a democracy,” he said, “Every day they paralyse the country”.
He walked away as a burning skip collapsed at its base into a gooey, plastic mess.