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Last Updated: Friday, 30 December 2005, 22:59 GMT
Argentina marks club fire deaths
Friends and family light candles at a mass in Buenos Aires
Families want those responsible brought to justice
People in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires have marked the first anniversary of its deadliest fire in which 194 people were killed in a nightclub.

Hundreds lit candles in memory of the victims and rallied in the city.

The fire in the Cromagnon club led to the arrest of its owner, the impeachment of the mayor and harsh criticism of President Nestor Kirchner.

It was later discovered that four of the six emergency exits had been locked to stop people entering without paying.

The premises had not been inspected for over a year.

'Deaths unpunished'

At the rally in the capital on Friday, relatives and friends held up photographs of those who died.

"I feel impotent, I feel anger, I feel pain," Paula Biaro, 23, who lost three friends, told the AP news agency.

We want justice. We have nothing
Erasmo Gonzalez
Parent of victim

"These deaths still remain unpunished and nothing has been done yet to resolve this. Heads have to roll. This is a wound that cannot heal and cannot close."

Erasmo Gonzalez, who lost his 36-year-old son Edwin, added: "We want justice. For the time being, we have nothing."

The families later attended a cathedral mass, followed by a rally outside the president's office and a sunset march to the site of the former nightclub.

The president has declared Friday a day of national mourning and flags flew at half mast across Argentina.

Exit scramble

At least 1,500 people were packed into the club on the night of 30 December 2005 to hear a popular Buenos Aires rock band.

It had played just one song when it is believed that someone in the audience let off a flare.

The plastic soundproofing in the ceiling caught fire and everyone scrambled to leave.

Children were later found dead in the women's toilets. They had been left there while their mothers danced.

Investigation ongoing

Every month relatives of those who died hold a protest in the capital. They say their children were not killed by a firework, but by corruption.

Last month the Mayor of Buenos Aires, Anibal Ibarra, was suspended pending an investigation into his responsibility for the disaster.

His detractors say that he oversaw a shamefully corrupt system of safety inspections across the capital but his supporters say there is political motivation behind his suspension.

Thirty other people including band members, fire inspectors and police are being investigated on a range of charges but no trials are expected to begin until late 2006.

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