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Funeral of Argentine 'femicide' victim attended by thousands

Victim Micaela Garcia's naked body had been found in a field. Her funeral has re-sparked Argentina's "Not one less" movement protesting violence against women and demanding reforms to the judicial system.

Mourners and activists flooded the streets near the sports stadium in Concepcion de Uruguay on Tuesday to pay their respects to Micaela Garcia and to demand justice for the victims of "femicide" - killings of women that activists attribute to a society where women are valued less than men.

Read more: Argentine women protest macho culture that enables rape and murder of women

After a funeral for Garcia inside the stadium, thousands of attendees lined some 25 blocks as the 21-year-old's body was transported to the cemetery. The streets reverberated with cries for justice.

One week after disappearing from a nightclub, Garcia's body was found with reported signs of rape in a field on the outskirts of Gualeguay, a city some 234 kilometers (145 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires in the province of Entre Rios. An autopsy revealed strangulation as the cause of death.

Activism against violence

Alongside studies in physical education in Gualeguay, Garcia had volunteered in poor neighborhoods and was active in the "Ni Una Menos" ("Not one less") movement fighting violence against women. Garcia's death has reinvigorated the movement that began on June 3, 2015, and led to mass protests over the past two years.

Read more: "Ni Una Menos" foundational rally protests domestic violence in Argentina

Critics have accused the government of failing to develop policies that protect Argentine women in their everyday lives.

Coinciding with Garcia's funeral date, women activists also gathered in front of the presidential palace in Buenos Aires to demand greater government action against femicide.

"We are here to ask for justice for the crime against Micaela. It is a scandal: in Argentina a woman dies every 18 hours as the victim of sexist ["machista"] violence," activist leader Lucia Camara said.

Argentinien Buenos Aires Ni una menos Protest Frauen (picture-alliance/Zuma/C. Santisteban)

A woman holds a "not one less" sign in a march against gender violence

The President weighs in

In addition to condemning gender violence, the people attending the rallies accused the justice system of contributing to Garcia's death.

Protesters took particular aim at Judge Carlos Rossi, who had paroled Garcia's alleged murderer, identified as "Sebastian W," last year despite a conviction in 2012 on two counts of sexual abuse that should have seen the accused remain behind bars until 2020.

"There are two responsible parties here, both products of a chauvinist and patriarchal social-cultural system," the president of the Women's National Advisory Council, Fabiana Tunez, told "La Nacion," an Argentine daily. "On the one hand is the assassin, on the other the judge," she said.

Still DW-Interview mit Mauricio Macri (DW)

Argentina's president Macri called for Rossi's removal from the bench

Entre Rios' government legislators and opposition alike have already submitted requests to the provincial legislature demanding Rossi's dismissal. The public outcry over the case has been so great that even President Mauricio Macri called for the judge's removal.

"We cannot have these types of judges," Macri told the radio station Mitre on Saturday.

cmb/jm (dpa, EFE)

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