Last violent day at the Book Fair: an editor denounces an attack by security personnel

Last violent day at the Book Fair: an editor denounces an attack by security personnel
Last violent day at the Book Fair: an editor denounces an attack by security personnel

Violence at the Book Fair: editor Francisco Garamona reports that he was attacked by security personnel

The Buenos Aires Book Fair is a peaceful place. People come and go, they walk, they buy, they listen, they read and they leave. Battles usually take place in the form of argumentative debate. But yesterday, on the last day of the mega-event that takes place every year in La Rural, a violent episode occurred. A video posted on reddit shows an altercation between the Fair’s security personnel and a group of people, including the poet, musician and editor Francisco Garamona. “They grabbed me as if I were a murderer!” He shouts from the floor, with labored breathing and a reddened face.

Whoever published the video put a derogatory title: “Zurdo lights up a joint at the Book Fair ends badly.” The El Libro Foundation has just published a statement adhering to that version: “Faced with a violation (people who were smoking in a stand), which violated the regulations and put the safety of the entire property at risk, a surveillance agent approached to request that the transgression of the rules be put to an end, after which who was verbally and physically attacked. From this fact, security personnel joined in to protect her partner, putting an end to the disturbance.”.

“I wasn’t smoking. And if they want me to do toxicological studies”Garamona says without half measures to Infobae Culture. His version is completely different: it all started with chants against Milei, pushing, an attack on a writer and then the violence. “They drag me, they take me ten meters from the stand, to an open space and they start hitting me among twelve people. They hanged me, they almost killed me“They strangled me tremendously, they bent all my arms, they kicked me in the head, in the legs, in the spine,” says the editor of the Mansalva label.

Violence at the Buenos Aires Book Fair 2024

On the last day of the Fair, at ten at night, everyone who is part of the different stands, after three intense weeks on the La Rural grounds, gives the classic closing applause. This edition had something unique: the political situation. In addition to the applause, chants emerged against Javier Milei. The tension between the government and the Book Fair was evident: proof of this is the absence of national authorities at the opening event, the removal of the Ministry of Culture’s stand and the canceled presentation of Milei’s book, as well as the strong criticism of the management on the part of the El Libro Foundation, editors and writers.

“The Fair ended and with the classic applause they began to sing against Milei, to which some of the people at the stand, including myself, joined in. And a security gang is coming,” says Garamona. At that moment, a Chilean writer — “her name is Leonora, I don’t remember her last name” — goes to talk to the security personnel, “and they tackle her, grab her, and throw her to the floor.”. “In the face of that I could not remain undaunted. I was filming with my cell phone. They ask me to stop filming. That unleashed extreme anger and violence from these people,” she recalls.

“Then they take my cell phone away, They drag me, take me ten meters from the stand, to an open space and they start hitting me among twelve people. They choked me, they almost killed me, they strangled me tremendously, they bent all my arms, they kicked me in the head, in the legs, in the spine. It was all so absurd that it even made me laugh because I couldn’t believe it. And then I go back to my booth and the guys were all there waiting to grab me because they wanted to get into the booth, which they can’t do. Furthermore, they do not have any type of power to handle themselves in that way. They have to be there caring,” she adds.

Francisco Garamona is a poet, musician and editor of the Mansalva label.

“They handled themselves as if they were a task force. They were all there waiting for me to come out so they could grab me again, because they were angry with me, because I hadn’t done anything to them,” says the editor. “At the time they were hitting me on the floor, they also hit Washington Cucurtoto Nicholas Mogilevskymy partner at Mansalva: a very gratuitous and very violent and extreme thing”.

At that moment, after the beating, Francisco Garamona He says that he thought “the only thing that can help me in this situation is the police, to bring a little order.” Then he calls the officers who were outside. “The police came and things stopped a bit there. All the security people came together because I was with the police outside the Fair, but inside the La Rural property. I tell them ‘thank you for coming because these are tremendous, they could have killed me.'” Regarding the reasons, he reflects: “I suppose they are people who feel protected by all the hate speech and because they think that violence has no retaliation”.

Garamona did not make the complaint, “because when the SAME comes, the security people get together with the boss and invent that I had hit a security woman, which is an absolute fallacy. There are videos that demonstrate the opposite. The woman had nothing on her face. I approached her and said: ‘Did I hit you?’ She told me: ‘No, you didn’t do anything to me.’ They invent that to have something to justify themselves with. I was there for about four hours standing next to a patrol car with fairly light clothing and it was very cold, it was night.”

Last night was the last day of the Buenos Aires Book Fair, which was attended by more than a million people during the three weeks that the mega-event lasted (Photo: Fundación El Libro)

When Garamona tells the SAME workers what happened and asks them what to do, they tell him that the best thing is to go to the police station to make a report and then go to a hospital to be treated by a medical examiner. “You’ll be there until tomorrow at noon,” he says they tell him. “My teenage daughter was waiting for me at my house. She was alone, she was returning from an arts school that she goes to at night. And she couldn’t, she didn’t want to. The truth is that she was so shocked and traumatized and in so much pain that she wanted to go back to my house, take a shower, go to bed and forget about that nightmare. And that’s what I did.”

I did not file a complaint, which does not mean that I cannot do so.. But I didn’t want to go through this whole issue of medical examiners and so on,” says the editor and concludes on the other end of the phone: “Security is hired by the Fair and the least they could do is apologize. I have no intention of taking action against them because judicial proceedings bore me, but What happened was very serious, humanly and institutionally. I repeat, they attacked me for filming how they beat a girl. “They don’t want to run the axis of that.”

 
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