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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 January, 2005, 02:19 GMT
Argentines protest over club fire
By Simon Watts
BBC News

Relatives and friends lay to rest one of the victims of the nightclub disaster at Buenos Aires cemetery
People are demanding answers following the nightclub tragedy
Thousands of Argentines are marching for a third day to demand resignations over a fire in a Buenos Aires nightclub that killed more than 180 people.

Two officials have already stepped down after accepting responsibility for inadequate safety measures.

More than 700 people were injured in the fire and some remain in a critical condition in hospital.

The fire at Cromagnon Nightclub four days ago was one of the worst disasters in Argentine history.

Public anger is mounting, and the main target of the current protests is the mayor of Buenos Aires, Anibal Ibarra.

The crowd blames his city's government for tolerating poor safety standards.

The fire started when someone at the nightclub launched a flare during a concert, but the disaster was compounded by the conditions inside.

Political price

The blaze spread quickly because of the foam ceiling.

Some emergency exits were apparently closed and survivors said there were too many people at the concert to start with.

Mr Ibarra says the fire brigade is responsible for building safety in Buenos Aires, and it approved the nightclub in June.

He has also tried to deflect blame onto the owner of the club, who has been arrested for alleged negligence.

The Argentine president, Nestor Kirchner, is also paying a political price for the disaster.

Until Monday, the president had not spoken publicly about the fire.

Now, he has tried to explain that he did not want to be seen as the sort of politician who tries to use a catastrophe to grab public attention.

Amid the national outpouring of grief that has followed this fire, it is an explanation many Argentines will struggle to understand.




SEE ALSO:
Man arrested over Argentine fire
01 Jan 05 |  Americas
Panic and chaos in club inferno
31 Dec 04 |  Americas
In pictures: Argentina club fire
31 Dec 04 |  In Pictures
Timeline: Argentina
23 Dec 04 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Argentina
13 Nov 04 |  Country profiles


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