Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Madres de Plaza de Mayo)
The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo is a unique organization of Argentine women who have become human rights activists in order to achieve a common goal. For nearly three decades, the Mothers have fought for the right to re-unite with their abducted children.
In protests, they wear white scarves to symbolize the white dove of peace. The name of the organizations comes from the Plaza de Mayo in central Buenos Aires, where the bereaved mothers and grandmothers first gathered. They gather every Thursday afternoon for a half hour walk around the plaza.
The Mothers' association was formed by women who had met each other in the course of trying to find their missing sons and daughters, who were abducted by agents of the Argentine government during the years known as the Dirty War (1976–1983), many of whom were then tortured and killed. The 14 founders of the association, Azucena Villaflor de De Vincenti, Berta Braverman, Haydée García Buelas, María Adela Gard de Antokoletz, Julia Gard, María Mercedes Gard and Cándida Gard (4 sisters), Delicia González, Pepa Noia, Mirta Baravalle, Kety Neuhaus, Raquel Arcushin, Sra. De Caimi, started the demonstrations on the Plaza de Mayo, in front of the Casa Rosada presidential palace, on 30 April 1977. Villaflor had been searching for one of her sons and her daughter-in-law for six months. She was taken to the ESMA concentration camp on 10 December 1977.
The military have admitted that over 9,000 of those kidnapped are still unaccounted for, but the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo say that the number is closer to 30,000. The numbers are hard to determine due to the secrecy surrounding the abductions. Three of the founders of the mothers of the Plaza de Mayo have also "disappeared". After the fall of the military regime, a civilian government commission put the number of disappeared at close to 11,000.